The Anonymous Widower

Meandering Around Lancashire

Yesterday, I went to Ipswich Town’s disastrous match at Blackburn.

I went via Liverpool, as I had at one point intended to get a flight from Liverpool Airport to Poland on the Sunday to start one of my Home Runs.

But circumstances intervened and so I was left with only the first leg of my trip – A First Class ticket to Liverpool.

These pictures tell the story of my journey.

Note :-

  1. Norton Bridge Junction is The  Two Hundred Million Pound Railway Project Of Which You’ve Probably Not Heard.
  2. Where were all the Class 319 trains in Liverpool? Only Northern Powerhouse was sitting forlornly in Platform 1! Normally, there’s half a dozen!
  3. The New Platform 7 at Liverpool Lime Street has been planned for years. And still nothing is happening.
  4. Blackburn station had no information on buses.

I’d actually taken six trains during the day.

  • A Virgin Pendelino from Euston to Liverpool
  • A Northern Rail Class 156 train from Liverpool to Wigan North Western
  • A Virgin Pendelino from Wigan North Western to Preston
  • A Northern Rail Class 156 train from Preston to Blackburn
  • A Northern Rail Class 142 train from Blackburn to Preston
  • A Virgin Pendelino from Preston to Euston

The trip up was by a roundabout route, but in some ways it illustrates the problems of trains in the area.

  • Liverpool to Preston is fully electrified, but the service is run by diesels, although from Monday, it will be run by Class 319 electric trains on a half-hourly basis.
  • As Preston to Blackpool is not electrified, usually the onward journey is a tired diesel.
  • Preston to Blackburn and Burnley is not electrified and is generally run by antique Pacers and a few Class 156 trains.
  • At the moment due to the Farnworth Tunnel problems, Manchester to Preston is not a journey for the faint-hearted.

Hopefully, it’ll all get better, when the Manchester to Preston via Bolton electrification is complete, but that won’t do anything from Preston to Blackpool, Blackburn and Burnley.

Whoever wins the new Northern Rail franchise is going to be mandated to buy 120 new carriages.

Surely, these should be Aventra IPEMUs and they should be used on these lines from or through Preston.

  • Blackpool North to Hazel Grove
  • Blackpool South To Colne
  • Preston to Barrow
  • Preston to Blackpool North
  • Preston to Leeds via Blackburn, Bolton, Halifax and Bradford
  • Preston to Manchester Victoria via Blackburn, Burnley and the Todmorden Curve.
  • Preston To Ormskirk
  • Preston to Windermere

They would probably be used on other lines in the area.

  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central
  • Manchester to Southport

These services might only need some platform lengthening, adjustments to track and signalling and a small amount of extra electrification.

The longest  section that is not electrified is that between Preston and Bradford, which is probably less than sixty miles. If necessary the gap could be shortened by  electrifying between Preston and say Rose Hill, where the Colne branch divides.

What surprises me, is that Bombardier haven’t created another demonstrator to prove the concept, just as they did at Manningtree.



October 3, 2015 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Station For Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is difficult to get to by public transport. Not that I ever have, as although I’ve been past the monument many times, the only time I’ve been was in the last year at Primary School, when we had a field trip to Dinton in Wiltshire. In those days you could walk unhindered amongst the stones and I do feel that any trip now would be an anti-climax.

But according to this article in the Salisbury Journal entitled Designs for new Wilton Parkway project unveiled, it’s going to get a lot easier to get to Stonehenge. The article says this.

Designs for a new railway station at Wilton have been unveiled.  The vision for Wilton Parkway has been outlined in a brochure, which includes architects impressions of what the site could look like, which would be built adjacent to the existing Salisbury Park and Ride in Wilton.

It would be on the Salisbury to Bristol line and part of the Trans Wilts route which will run north to south in the county.  The brochure says it would “provide new capacity for passengers to access the National Rail Network using direct trains to London, Southampton, Swindon, Bristol and Cardiff” and support sustainable access to Salisbury with a highly attractive five minute journey time”.

The new station would also “offer a fast, high capacity rail-bus link to the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge”.

This is an early artists impression of the station.

Wilton Parkway Station

Wilton Parkway Station

It would appear that one of the driving forces behind this new station is Transwilts, which is the local Community Rail Partnership.

Hopes are that the station will open in 2019. I hope they’ve checked for bats, newts and Nimbys!

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment