The Anonymous Widower

Walking Manchester Metrolink’s Second City Crossing

I took these pictures when I walked the route of Manchester Metrolink‘s Second City Crossing (2CC).

I think it could be more interesting than just a second route across the City Centre for the trams.

This Google Map shows the train and tram lines through Deansgate station and Deansgate-Castlefield tram-stop,


  • St. Peter’s Square tram-stop, which is the Western end of the 2CC,  is the next one to the East from Deansgate-Castlefield.
  • The rail and tram lines run close together to the West of Deansgate station.
  • The rail line runs to Trafford Park, Warrington Central and then on to Liverpool.

This Google Map shows the train and tram lines to the immediate East of Manchester Victoria station.


  • Victoria station is the Eastern end of the 2CC.
  • The rail and tram lines run close together to the East of Victoria station.
  • The rail lines run to Rochdale, Burnley, Hebden Bridge and Ashton-under-Lyme.

I can’t believe that the 2CC wasn’t designed without thinking about incorporating it as part of a tram-train route across the City.

Consider the Class 399 tram-train being trialled in Sheffield.

  • It can work as a standard tram on a tram network, running under tram rules.
  • It can work as 62 mph train on an electrified rail line.
  • It can run on both 25 KVAC and 1500 VDC overhead electrification.
  • On rail lines it can share with any train, like for instance a Class 319 pr Class 185 train.

It would probably need to be a version tailored to Manchester’s tram standards, but once the Manchester to Liverpool Line via Warrington and the  Calder Valley Line are electrified, a Class 399 tram-train could work the following route.

  • Starting from Liverpool Lime Street it would run as a train until just before Deansgate station.
  • It would then switch to the tram lines and take the 2CC to Manchester Victoria station, running as a tram.
  • To the East of Victoria station, the tram-train would switch to the Calder Valley Line and run as a tram, perhaps to Burnley or Hebdeb Bridge.

You have to remember that tram-trains are a bit like 4x4s and if there is a route on which they can run, then they can take it given that track, electrification and signalling are in place.

There would be no reason, why once at Burnley say, the tram-train could not go walkabout around the town.


On a quick look, it would appear that the Second City Crossing (2CC) has been built so that tram-trains across the city centre have not been ruled out.




March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Hazel Grove Station

Hazel Grove station is an important station on the Buxton Line.

Just to the South of the station, there is a large housing development, which probably helps to explain the what looks to be new expansion to the car parking at the station.

This Google Map shows the area around Hazel Grove station.

There are two main railways on the map.

  • The Buxton Line runs North-West to South-East, connecting Stockport and Manchester in the North-West to Buxton in the South-East.
  • The Buxton Line goes through Hazel Grove station, where some trains stop and under Chester Road.
  • The rail line running East-West connects the Hope Valley Line in the East to a freight-only going West.

There is also a single-track bi-directional chord that connects the Hope Valley Line with Stockport.

The East Midlands Trains service between Norwich and Liverpool uses this chord, but doesn’t stop in Hazel Grove station.

Current Services At Hazel Grove Station

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for Hazel Grove station, this is said.

Today Hazel Grove is served by two trains per hour to/from Manchester Piccadilly – the hourly Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton and the hourly Preston to Hazel Grove DMU services. Only a few of the local DMU services between Manchester and Sheffield go via Hazel Grove – most travel via New Mills Central. Few services from Buxton now continue past Manchester Piccadilly and those that do (currently seven services in total) operate in the early morning and evening business peak periods.

So Hazel Grove has a just two diesel multiple units per hour to Manchester Piccadilly..

The Class 319 Flex Train

If the building, testing and delivery of the Class 319 Flex train goes according to the Porterbrook/Northern plan, then the following will happen before the December 2017 Timetable Change..

  • Four Class 319 Flex trains will be in service.
  • Four more Class 319 trains will be in progress of being converted to Class 319 Flex trains.
  • Class 319 Flex trains will be running between Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton.
  • Class 319 Flex trains must be running to Blackpool and Windermere, if the sub-leased Class 185 trains have to go back to TransPennine.

Without any extra electrification, the Class 319 Flex trains will be able to run from Hazel Grove to  to Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool North, Buxton, Manchester Piccadill, Preston, Wigan North Western and Windermere

New Track/Electrification Before December 2017 Timetable Change

These changes and upgrades, should happen before the December 2017 Timetable Change.

  • Manchester to Preston via Bolton should be electrified.
  • The Blackpool Branch Lines to Blackpool North should be electrified.
  • Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge could be electrified.
  • According to Network Rail, the Ordsall Chord should be in operation.

They could make a lot of difference to services from Hazel Grove station.

  • Class 319 electric trains could run to Blackpool North, Bolton, Liverpool, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Preston and Wigan North Western.
  • Class 319 Flex bi-mode trains could run to Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Blackpool South, Buxton, Clitheroe, Stalybridge and Windermere

Northern Rail have an awful lot of sensible possibilities for electric or bi-mode services.


March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Lunch In Buxton

These pictures show my time in Buxton.

The lunch in the Hydro Cafe was excellent.

Onward From Buxton

There are lines that branch off to the left as you reach Buxton. This the closed Ashbourne Line, which still carries stone and other quarried products from Hindley.

I wouldn’t be surprised that some of this route and others in the area, were reopened to passenger traffic.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Down The Buxton Line

On the return from Buxton, I took these pictures.

I sat on the wrong side of the train, as the views are better on the left-side going up and the right-side going down.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Up The Buxton Line

I took these pictures as my train went between Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton.

It was a hard climb for a poor clapped-out Class 150 train.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

From Salford Central To Deansgate

I took these pictures as I walked from Salford Central station to the Deansgate-Castlefield tram-stop.

Despite the fact, that it was not raining and is very sunny, it is Manchester! Although probably, some parts are Salford!

It is certainly, an impressive bridge over the Irwell and a reconstructed viaduct to Deansgate.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Could A Class 172 Train Run As A Tram?

I am using a Class 172 train as an example, but it could equally well be any two or three-car train capable of running on the UK network.

This Class 172 train on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is probably only a tiny bit bigger than your bog-standard modern tram, that you’re starting to see all over the UK. This train is.

  • Modern
  • Diesel-powered.
  • Two cars.
  • Good passenger access.
  • The driver has good visibility.

But it could be better, if a train like this was to be built today.

Consider what an ideal rail line for a train of this type, perhaps to run between Saxmundham and Aldeburgh would look like.

  • Only one train would be allowed on the line at any one time.
  • Freight trans to Sizewell would be allowed under very strict rules.
  • Slow speed limit.
  • Single or double track.
  • Clear colour light signalling, that every passenger understands.
  • Platform-train access would be step-free.
  • Step-free ramp access to the platforms.
  • Passengers can walk across the tracks.

Imagine how Ipswich to Aldeburgh service would work.

  • The train would run to Saxmundham under normal rail rules.
  • From Saxmundham to Aldeburgh and back, the train would proceed at a slow tram-like speed, with the driver keeping an extra vigilant look out
  • Once back at Saxmundham, the train would return to Ipswich.

I can’t see why, it wouldn’t work on lots of branch lines.

It would of course be better with an electric train, so could we see a dual-voltage 25 KVAC/1500 VDC three car train, that could use tram style electrification on the tram-style section?

But it is effectively a small train, that can just run slowly like a tram.

The Class 172 train would do the job, but it would be better if it was a modern version

Something like Stadler’s train with the engine in the middle might do it.

Looks like a tram! Goes like a tram! o it must be a tram! Wrong! It’s a train!

Our small and sometimes annoying loading gauge has its advantages.

Who needs a specialist tram-train?


March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment