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MEMBERS' MEETINGSMonday meetings start at 1.00pm, ending at 3.00pm.
Friday meetings start at 7.30 pm, ending promptly at 9.15 pm.
Wednesday meetings start at 1.00 pm, ending at 2.45
Friday 17th April: "7 up" - 35 Years of Railway Photography. Peter Barkus presents a further selection of slides.
Wednesday 22nd April: People and Places - Part 4. Paul Shackcloth repeats the the latest talk in his fascinating series for the benefit of membersunable to attend last September.
Monday 4th May: Euston and Destinations - Part 3. This slide presentation by John Hooley will include routes branching off the West Coast Main Line from Oxenholme towards Carlisle and Glasgow.
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SOCIETY NEWS ITEMSApril News from Andrew Macfarlane
The Trafford Centre Metrolink line opened as planned on Sunday 22nd March (despite the virus). The initial service is a 12-minute frequency shuttle from Cornbrook. Metrolink services were reduced to a 12-minute frequency across the system (with the Altrincham-Bury service withdrawn) as from Monday 23 March due to reduced demand because of the virus (and also because fewer staff were available). Where possible services have been formed of double trams to enable social distancing to take place. The service will be further reduced to every 20 minutes from Monday 6th April.
The Northern franchise was taken into public ownership as from 1st March. Nick Donovan is the new Managing Director of Northern. He was previously MD of Transpennine Express. Experienced railwayman Robin Gisby is Chairman of the new company Northern Trains Limited.
Since February Freightliner have been using class 70 locomotives on the Greater Manchester binliner trains The Dean Lane refuse transfer station at Newton Heath is currently being rebuilt and rail traffic from there has temporarily ceased.
The last four Northern class 142 Pacers have been withdrawn and are currently parked at Newton Heath depot. Plans for a farewell tour to the Northern class 142s have been cancelled due to the virus.
In March it was announced that a feasibility study is to be carried out into the possible reopening of the Skelton Junction to Glazebrook line.
Freight Variety - by Charlie Hulme
It's perhaps an interesting fact that in March 2020 the three main types of freight loco - classes 60, 66 and 70 - can be seen in action in the Stockport area. These three views were taken at Stockport station before the current crisis.
On 11 March, the 09:54 from Cemex, Peak Forest to Hope Street, Salford was powered by 66 780 'Cemex Express' in its special livery, named by Peter Waterman in June 2019. The wagons behind the locomotive are former coal hoppers shortened for limestone usage by cutting out the centre section. The company name 'Cemex' is a clue that Dove Holes quarry is now owned by a multinational based in Mexico.
Freightliner hold the contract for Greater Manchester Waste trains, which currently run to the Runcorn Folly Lane branch where there is access to an 'energy for waste' plant.These have been hauled by Class 66s in recent times, but in February Class 70s took over.Seen at lunchtime on 11 March was 70 010 with the 11:12 empty containers from Runcorn to Brindle Heath waste terminal in Salford. Until February some of the wagons would have been detached at Brindle Heath and tripped to Dean Lane waste terminal in Newton Heath, but this has ceased, as the Dean lane building is being demolished for rebuilding in another form. The last train to enter the sidings was a railtour on 7 March.
Another regular flow is of 'biomass' (wood pellets) from Liverpool Docks to Drax power station. The loaded trains take an indirect route via the Mid-Cheshire line and Stockport to avoid the climb of Miles Platting bank. The empties return via Rochdale, Manchester Victoria and Eccles. The wagons are a special design to carry a maximum load of the relatively light material. GB Railfreight is the hauler, using Class 60 locos purchased from Colas, such as 60 096 'Impetus', seen on 14 March approaching Heaton Norris Junction where it will take the route towards Guide Bridge. The 'unofficial' names on these locos reference celebrity marine tugboats, 'tug' being an enthusiasts' nickname for the Class 60.
Great Northern Railway Auction
There has been a further development concerning this auction which was due to take place in Poynton on March 28th but was cancelled because of the Covid-19 situation. This event will now be run as a postal / email / telephone auction with a date to be announced very shortly. Details can be found at www.gnrauctions.co.uk or by telephone on 07802 553880 or 0161 487 2702.
TfGM Concessionary Pass Restriction Lifted
Bus and tram passengers with concessionary passes will be able to travel during the morning rush hour from March 20th. Concessionary pass holders usually pay full adult fare before 9.30am.
Although the advice remains to keep travel on public transport to a minimum, it is recognised that some older people and disabled people, who are not yet self-isolated, may need to travel earlier than usual to get to the shops or to attend a medical appointment.
It also coincides with supermarkets' new ringfenced shopping periods for those most vulnerable to Covid-19.
Coronavirus / Covid-19 update
As a consequence of the government's announcements regarding social distancing, it has sadly become necessary for us to close the clubrooms until further notice.
Please see the Members' Meetings column on the left of this page for an up to date notice of cancellations.
We are still planning to produce the May edition of the Mancunian as usual, with delivery or posting to members hopefully in mid April.
The pub lunch on Monday 30th March is also CANCELLED.
Let's hope that things will start to improve before too long. In the meantime, take care and stay safe everyone.
March Committee Meeting
The minutes of the March Committee Meeting can be found by clicking on the on the 'Members Only Section (password required)' and then following the 'Committee and AGM Reports' link.
Mr Robert Fysh
It is with great sadness that we must report the death of Robert Fysh
Frank Robert Mowe Fysh joined the MLS aged 17 in March 1948 becoming member no. 176. He left at the end of 1957, re-joined in May 1971 and remained a member since that date. He was also a member of the Manchester Model Railway Society.
He lived in Timperley all his life and worked for some time at Beyer Peacock's in Gorton.
Details of the funeral will be circulated in due course.
News Items for the Mancunian by Andrew Macfarlane
Crewe Heritage Centre News
Metrolink tram no. 1023 was due to be moved from Trafford depot to the Crewe Heritage Centre by Allelys Heavy Haulage (as featured on Train Truckers on Yesterday channel) on Monday 3rd February. Tram 1007 is due to be moved from Trafford depot to Rigby Road depot in Blackpool. Both trams are earmarked for eventual transfer to the Heaton Park Tramway.
Metrolink Trafford Park Line
It has been announced that the line is due to open in April. The initial service will be from Cornbrook to the Trafford Centre. This will eventually be extended to become a service from Crumpsall (where a new bay platform has been constructed) to the Trafford Centre. It has recently been announced that this line will now open on Sunday March 22nd.
Metrolink Extension to Stockport
On 22nd January it was announced that Stockport Council and Transport for Greater Manchester are to request between £500m and £1bn from the Government to deliver an extension of the Metrolink line from East Didsbury to Stockport town centre. The Government has previously signalled its support in principle for the extension of the network. TfGM and the council have already paved the way for trams to integrate with other transport networks in Stockport; the £120m redevelopment of Stockport Interchange due to start on site this year factors in a Metrolink route and stop, and is backed by £40m of Government Growth Fund money. Stockport Council and TfGM will now work up a business case for the Metrolink extension, which is set to cost between £500m and £1bn, and will also request Government grant the necessary transport planning powers at the same time as the funding. If funding is granted, a start on site could begin by 2025.
Wayfarer Ticket Price increase
The GM Wayfarer ticket increased in price from 2nd January to adult £14.40, group (up to 4 people no more than 2 of whom are adults) £28.80, English National Concessionary pass holders £9.50 and children (aged 5 to 15) £7.20.
Metrolink fares increased by an average of 2.2% as from 26th January. Single fares remained unchanged.
Northern’s class 323 electric trains have been maintained at the Trans-Pennine Express Ardwick depot since the December 2019 timetable change.
Drivers on Northern who are members of ASLEF have voted to accept a new deal on Sunday working and Sunday services were back to normal as from Sunday 26th January.
Demolition of Erecting Shop at Horwich Works
(From the Bolton News website)
Visitors were recently given the last chance to look around the Horwich Locomotive Works erecting shop, of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, which turned the sleepy village into the heart of the first Northern Powerhouse. Demolition is imminent at the site to make way for a 1,700-home development. Horwichers, heritage enthusiasts and councillors alike seized the opportunity to see a part of the town’s heritage for the last time. The Horwich Loco Works erecting shop is due to be demolished to make way for a spine road which is “crucial” to the development and regeneration of the site. Talks are currently underway to move the first locomotive built at Horwich Locomotive Works, No.1008, to the site. And it might be joined by another well-known engine, the miniature works engine ‘Wren’.
New Look Pendolino
Pendolino No 390 155 in the new Avanti West Coast livery calls at Stockport on January 8th while forming a service to Manchester Piccadilly.
Photograph by Charlie Hulme
January Committee Meeting Minutes
The minutes of the January 2020 MLS Committee Meeting (No 743) held on January 8th are now available for members to view. Go to the Members Only section (password required) and click on Committee and AGM Reports.
Older items can be found on the 2019 Archive page.
Members' contributions welcome at: email@example.com
Page updated April 5th 2020