The Anonymous Widower

Northern Electrics Increase Services

Today the Class 319 trains started running services from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria and Wigan North Western.

I took the pictures when I rode the 07:20 train from Liverpool to Manchester and some later when I returned to Manchester.

When I was travelling to Preston on the Sunday from Liverpool, my Class 156 train on the slow line between Wigan North Western and Preston was passed on the fast line by a Class 319 doing about a hundred. I estimated it was going fast as a couple of minutes later a Class 390 Pendolino roared past.

So it got me thinking, as to why some of the Wigan North Western services from Liverpool don’t go to Preston, as the tracked are electrified.

Then today, a student in Burnley asked me the same question, because as he said, it would make travelling from Burnley and Blackburn to Liverpool a lot easier.

There’s probably a very good reason, why they don’t!

I also asked a driver how they liked the Class 319s. He replied by saying they were waiting for more services to start out of Manchester.

He also said they were a bit bouncy on Chat Moss, where Network Rail had had trouble putiing up the overhead wires.

I have a feeling, that as Northern Rail get a few more Class 319 trains, they may do a bit of reorganisation of services around Preston.

Suppose :-

1. All Northern Rail trains between Liverpool Lime Street and Preston were to be run via Wigan North Western to a frequency of at least twice an hour by Class 319 trains. This might release some Class 156 trains.

2. The Blackburn service via Accrington, Burnley and Todmorden is extended to Preston and possibly to Blackpool North to connect with the Liverpool trains.

3. The Colne to Blackpool South service would also connect.

4. As more lines get electrified, the services would be optimised.

There’s also probably a good reason, why during the closure of the Farmsworth Tunnel, that the service via Todmorden isn’t extended past Blackburn to Preston. It could probably be something as simple as that when they planned the closure, the Todmorden Curve didn’t exist.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee And Seats At Manchester Victoria

The upgrade at Manchester Victoria station is approaching completion and as I passed through yesterday, the refreshment room was open and their were extra chairs everywhere in a Northern Rail promotion.

It’s just a pity that the coffee shop, just had to be those tax-avoiders; Starbucks.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Walking Between Burnley Manchester Road And Central Stations

Burnley is unique in British medium-sized towns that I know in that it has three rail stations in the town centre.

Barracks – A small single-platform halt on the East Lancashire Line

Central – Another small single-platform halt on the East Lancashire Line

Manchester Road – A modern station on the Caldervale Line

To make matters more difficult, all of the stations are a walk uphill from the pedestrianised town centre.

So Burnley is one of those unique places, where the going is a lot easier than the coming back.

If you look at passengers numbers for the three stations in 2012-13, they were respectively roughly 20,000, 150,000 and 240,000, but these probably don’t show the full pattern of usage, as I suspect with the hard walk uphill to the station, that those coming to the town to use the shops, probably use an alternative method to get home, if they are heavily loaded.

I took these pictures as I walked between the Manchester Road and Central stations taking in an excellent cup of chocolate in the centre.

It wasn’t the hardest drag up the other side, but I timed it so that I just missed the train to Blackburn. So I wouldn’t think the service on from Central station, isn’t the most customer-friendly.

When I go to Burnley normally, it’s to see Ipswich play their football team at Turf Moor. This Google Earth image shows the town from the Central station to Turf Moor.

Burnley Central Station To Turf Moor

Burnley Central Station To Turf Moor

Normally I come in at Manchester Road station, which is off the map at the bottom.  It’s a long mainly-downhill walk to the match and a long mainly-uphill walk back to the station. At least now there now are a few more trains and I could return to Manchester and London by taking a train to either Todmorden, Blackburn or Preston.

But is it possible to walk the contours of the hillside from the ground to Burnley Central? But then that only gives you one train an hour and you wouldn’t want to miss it on a pouring wet and cold day.

What Burnley needs is a better connection from the town centre to the Central and Manchester Road stations.

In an ideal eco-friendly modern world, there would be a free electric town centre mini-bus between the two stations, stopping on the way in the town centre and the bus station, which is not an easy walk from either rail station.

Providing better access to Manchester Road station, will always have to rely on vehicles of some sort. There is also the problem that the station despite being brand-new is not step-free from passenger drop-off to the Blackburn-bound platform.

On the other hand, the access to Burnley Central station, could possibly be met by creating a well-contoured path from the town centre and then using a lift to bridge the height gap to the platform, which is on the viaduct that carries the East Lancashire  across the town.

At present the East Lancashire Line has an hourly service in each direction as far as Colne. But as I said in this piece on tram-trains and their use in Blackpool I believe that they could be used to extend the line to Skipton in the east and Central Blackpool on the coast.

But that will never happen, as where is Skipton? In Yorkshire and Burnley, Blackburn, Blackpool and Preston are in Lancashire.

On the train, through Todmorden yesterday, I heard the odd comments about how the countryside wasn’t as pretty, as we passed the town.

The old parochial attitudes refuse to die.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment