The Anonymous Widower

Castlefield Corridor Trade-Off Plan For Fewer Trains

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine.

The article says that to solve the problems through the Castlefield Corridor, the number of trains will be reduced from 15 trains per hour (tph) to thirteen tph.

This arrangement applied until May 2018 and meant that two tph between Manchester Airport and East of the Pennines reversed in Manchester Piccadilly station to go East, rather than using the Castlefield Corridor through Deansgate and Manchester Victoria stations.

The arrangement worked well before May 2018 and I doubt there’s no reason, why it won’t work in the short-term.

The long-term solution is Northern Powerhouse Rail and/or High Speed Two, which looks like will be in tunnel between the Airport and Manchester City Centre and could carry as many as six tph between Manchester and Liverpool via the Airport.

Perhaps, this should be the first piece of High Speed Two to be built in the North.

  • It connects the three most important economic areas in the North West of England; Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport.
  • It would greatly increase capacity.
  • It would probably have good connections to Crewe, Warrington, Wigan and the West Coast Main Line.
  • Liverpool has an extensive local rail network, which is being expanded.
  • Manchester is expanding the Metrolink network.

Some of the Castlefield Corridor services would have been replaced by better and faster services.

February 19, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , ,


  1. Quite frankly the industry should be ashamed of itself for creating this situation and to suggest it requires four tracking to improve it beyond 13tph is going to mean 5+ years delay..This will make the Ordsall curve a white elephant as well.

    Thameslink put 20TPH through the core reliably day in day out yes it helps to have standard trains but biggest reason is because the driver is self dispatching the dwell times are minimised even when the service is perturbed. So they need to look as well at optimising what they have now as the current TT is very uneven.

    I also suggest that the DofT obsession with On Time railway as its measure rather than T-5 is making NR and TOCs even more cautious but of course it plays into OLR being able to say how reliable they’ve made the service in 12 months!!

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 19, 2020 | Reply

    • The interesting comment I got on the Castlefield Corridor was from a guy who worked on both Platform 13/14 at Piccadilly and on the London Underground. He said in Manchester they just rush the trains and don’t obey orders, thus delaying the trains.

      All trains on that corridor should be identical, as that speeds things up. After all they are on Thameslink, East London Line, Merseyrail, most Underground Lines and the Newcastle Metro! And things work better!

      Comment by AnonW | February 19, 2020 | Reply

  2. […] It appears that it has already been decided to reduce the number of trains, as I wrote about in Castlefield Corridor Trade-Off Plan For Fewer Trains. […]

    Pingback by Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street And Some Other Stations Compared « The Anonymous Widower | March 21, 2020 | Reply

  3. Railfuture have come up with an interesting proposal for removing freight trains from the corridor

    Comment by Peter Robins | May 15, 2020 | Reply

  4. is an announcement of £84m for Manchester Recovery Task Force plans. Included in this is “resignalling along the Castlefield Corridor and remodelling of Manchester Oxford Road station”. I can’t find any details of what this entails, but could they at last be doing something to expand the capacity of the Corridor?

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 11, 2022 | Reply

    • Is this a reheat of previous announcements or something new isn’t clear and is usual its full of aspirational statements but does it really mean. Are these to be more 8 car trains or 6 car to support the transfer of the class 323’s from West Midlands whenever they get their 730’s working.

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | March 11, 2022 | Reply

      • yes, it is all very vague. Even things like ‘Cumbrian route’ – which ‘Cumbrian route’? I expect at some point NR will put up a web page with more details on what work they’ll be doing.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 11, 2022

      • well the one they’ve created for TPU is equally vague on specifics

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | March 11, 2022

      • I’ve not come across that link before – a prettier version of AFAIK the biggest part of this – Hud-Dew – is still pending parliamentary approval.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 11, 2022

      • A couple of years ago, I had a long chat with I suspect one of Arriva’s graduate trainees on Piccadilly station. He’d worked on the Overground and he said their is a big difference between London and Mancunian passengers. The former do what you tell them and the latter don’t. So trains in Manchester have longer dwell times and get later. Sorting out the platforms with better access would probably improve performance through Castlefield. It doesn’t help that none of the trains through Castlefield has level access at any station.

        Comment by AnonW | March 11, 2022

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