The Anonymous Widower

Northern Connect Between Chester And Leeds To Start In May

This article on the BBC is entitled New Rail Services Aim To Ease Overcrowding.

This is an extract.

Northern will be adding direct services between Chester and Leeds.

I think this will be the proposed Northern Connect service.

  • The route is via Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Halifax and Bradford Interchange stations.
  • Only the twenty-two miles between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Victoria stations is electrified.
  • Wikipedia says that the service will be run using a Class 195 train.

Looking at the current timetable, these times are achieved.

  • Chester and Newton-le-Willows – 38 minutes
  • Newton-le-Willows and Manchester Victoria – 18 minutes
  • Manchester Victoria and Leeds – 75 minutes

This totals up to two hours and eleven minutes.

The Class 195 train is a 100 mph diesel multiple unit and may knock a few minutes from this time.

On my trip to Wigan last month, I heard a rumour from a driver, that the Chester and Leeds service would be run by Class 769 trains.

  • These trains could use electrification between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Victoria stations.
  • They would be slightly slower, than the new Spanish trains on diesel.

It will be interesting to see, which trains Northern use for the service.

March 8, 2019 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. the last I heard, the Chester-Leeds service isn’t due to start until December. Northern haven’t put anything up on their website for the Northern Connect services as yet just that they will introduce some in May and some in December. These services are limited stops, and the timetable which was proposed last year (before being ditched) was 53 mins Chester to Victoria and 1h 24m on to Leeds. I plan to ride on this as soon as it’s introduced, but am not holding my breath after the fiasco last year. I am hoping the Halton Curve route to Liverpool will start in May though.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 8, 2019 | Reply

  2. Current timings look like 56 minutes to Victoria, but three minutes couldeasily be picked up, especially if it were a Class 769 running on electricity from Bank Quay. Drivers have told me, that the old birds can still fly at 100 mph.

    Also limited stop across the Pennines which is a challenging route should be easy for a train which was designed for Manchester-Buxton with a full load. 84 minutes is very challenging.

    Current Manchester Victoria to Leeds services take 86 minutes with nine stops. The Connect service only has three stops, so at two minutes a stop, that could be 74 minutes across the Pennines.

    Is your 84 minute time from Chester to Leeds or Victoria to Leeds? The former looks an incredible time.

    Comment by AnonW | March 9, 2019 | Reply

    • the 84m is Victoria-Leeds – Chester-Leeds would indeed be incredible 🙂 I took a quick look at current timings, and find the 6.55 from Vic arrives Leeds 8.23, which is 1h 28m, so this is much the same.

      These timings will probably change, as the plan is now to use the new 195s, which are still being tested. These were originally due to start entering service last December, but this was postponed to the spring. shows one test run back in January.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 9, 2019 | Reply

      • I wonder if there may be other reasons to use Class 769 trains on this route.

        They have a similar performance to the new trains, but might be slightly faster as they can use the wires between Bank Quay and Victoria.

        It could be that they suspect that a four-car train will be needed on the route.

        They will also be on electric in Victoria and perhaps Northern and TransPennine want to make it an all-electric station, to cut pollution.

        It could be that the 769s are more ready than the 195s for this route.

        We shall see what train arrives in May. Bothe trains would probably do a good job.

        But the driver I spoke to, was fairly certain that 769s would work the route.

        Comment by AnonW | March 9, 2019

    • PS the original Northern Hub target for Chester-Manchester was 40 mins. This line is mainly flat and straight, so trains should be able to barrel along at top speed for much of it, particularly if there is only 1 stop. Whether they’ll be able to get it down to 40 mins …

      As you say, the line on to Halifax and Leeds is a lot more challenging.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 9, 2019 | Reply

      • The Class 769s are Mark 3 based and Northern drivers, I’ve spoken to about 319s, generally like them, as they can do 100 mph on the WCML and have exceptional brakes.

        Trying to scrap Mark 3s is like trying to get rid of Japanese Knotweed. They always find a way to stay in service. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Mark 3-based trains stay in service for well over fifty years.

        Could it be with their mechanical transmission, that the Calderdale is too much of a challenge for the Class 195 trains?

        Comment by AnonW | March 9, 2019

  3. I see from the National Rail page you referred to in another post says “Northern will be introducing direct services between Chester and Leeds, between Hull and Scarborough, and between Sheffield and Gainsborough”. So it looks like your original post was correct. So there’s something for me to look forward too. 🙂 I don’t understand the reference to the other 2 lines, as Northern already runs direct services on them.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 10, 2019 | Reply

  4. There’s a bit of twisted knicker syndrome about. The International Rail Journal says that there will be direct services between Hull, Scarborough and Whitby, which is impossible.

    Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2019 | Reply

  5. also listed in

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2019 | Reply

  6. the schedules have now appeared on realtimetrains, e.g. – total time of 2h 20m or so, run by Class 158s, good ol’ 30-yr-old BR stock. They also appear now on, so can be booked. Some variation in stops, but these are less limited stop than I thought. There could well be issues running both stopping and limited stop services on the Calderdale line. Times similar to current service changing at Oxford Rd via Huddersfield.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  7. Thanks for that!

    The route could be run by a Class 769 train, using electrification between Bank Quay and Victoria.

    Comment by AnonW | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  8. there’s also 1 service a day to/from Ellesmere Port + an evening service to Man Vic

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 21, 2019 | Reply

    • See my previous comment!

      Comment by AnonW | March 21, 2019 | Reply

    • I see the service to Man Vic is already in operation (which I wasn’t aware of). The Leeds service seems to replace the current service to Warr BQ

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  9. this new service is also a good example of what’s wrong with current ticketing:
    * for singles, there is only an anytime fare CTR-LDS, with no cheaper advance or off-peak fares
    * split ticketing CTR-Man and Man-LDS is several pounds cheaper
    * there are advance fares on TPE Man-LDS, so split ticketing CTR-LDS via Picc, is some 40% cheaper than the direct service if you can use an advance service
    * returns are quite a bit cheaper, and off-peak substantially so, but again split ticketing is quite a bit cheaper
    * if you have to travel several times in a week and can travel off-peak, by far the cheapest option is the Freedom of the NW Rover – which hardly anybody knows about and which can only be bought at a ticket office

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 22, 2019 | Reply

  10. This illustrates, why the whole country needs London-style contactless card ticketing.

    You would still be able to buy an advanced ticket, but the ability to touch-in and touch-out would increase ridership and be easy for everyone.

    I suspect one thing that will delay it will be some rail companies, who won’t want centralised processing, without their own systems, designed mainly for the rail company rather than passengers.

    Oyster is dying in London as more and more people are swapping to contactless cards.

    Comment by AnonW | March 22, 2019 | Reply

    • yup, I have to agree – particularly now that TfL’s system seeks out the cheapest fare. Just one for rail use, ignoring buses/trams/whatever, requires operators to work together, which is not the case at present. Most now have some sort of e-ticket, but only valid with 1 operator, and if your journey covers >1, you still need a printed ticket – ridiculous. So advanced e-tickets should be available in a standard file (PDF or whatever) compatible with all operators, and usable at all barriers. I don’t think there are any technical barriers to this any more, just someone needs to bang heads together.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 22, 2019 | Reply

  11. […] is not appropriate for the long term, although in Northern Connect Between Chester And Leeds To Start In May, I did report a rumour that Class 769 trains might be running between Chester and […]

    Pingback by Chester To Liverpool Via Runcorn « The Anonymous Widower | June 2, 2019 | Reply

  12. […] Northern Connect Between Chester And Leeds To Start In May, I did report a rumour that Class 769 trains might be running between Chester and […]

    Pingback by Manchester Victoria To Chester « The Anonymous Widower | June 3, 2019 | Reply

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