The Anonymous Widower

From Stockport Station To Liverpool Lime Street Station By Train

In a comment a friend said this about going by train from Stockport to Liverpool.

When we first moved here, there was no direct train to Liverpool, we had to go into Piccadilly, cross to Victoria and get a train to Liverpool. And before the trams that was a complete pain!

So how is it now?

Using National Rail Enquiries, I find that every hour there is a direct train from Stockport station to Liverpool South Parkway and Liverpool Lime Street stations at around twenty-five minutes past the hour, that takes a few minutes over the hour to get to Liverpool Lime Street.

They seem to be run by East Midlands Trains, so they will be a Class 158 train, which is fine.

If say you were to drive to Manchester Airport first, you can get a refurbished electric train, that takes virtually the same time to Liverpool.

Stockport To Manchester Airport

Until I wrote this, I hadn’t realised that Airport trains don’t go via Stockport, but they use the Styal Line that by-passes Stockport.

Looking at maps of the area, it would appear that there might be a way of trains going from Manchester to the Airport via Stockport.

Trains might take the Mid-Cheshire Line and then access the Styal Line at a new junction North of Gatley station.

This Google Map shows the area where the railway lines cross.

Gatley station is at the South-West corner of the map and the Styal Line runs Northwards past the motorway junction between the M60 and the A34.

The Mid-Cheshire Line runs across the map South of the motorway junction and the Alexandra Hospital.

I suppose the cost was too high, but then how do you put all the travellers’ cars on the train?

The fact that the rail link between Stockport and Manchester Airport wasn’t created at the same time as the motorway junction is a design crime of the highest order.

It looks to me that there is even space for a Park-and-Ride for Stockport and Manchester in the area.

The Ordsall Chord

The Ordsall Chord, will link Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly stations with a huge bridge across the Irwell, before the end of 2017

It will have four trains per hour (tph) in both directions, between Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Deansgate, Salford Central and Manchester Victoria stations. There is probably capacity for this service to go to eight tph,

Initially, trains will be refurbished four-car Class 319 electric trains, that currently work Liverpool to Manchester services.

These trains are no suburban trundlers, but will be able to cruise near to 100 mph on parts of the journey, thus knocking a few minutes off the time between Manchester Piccadlly and the Airport.

What Will The Ordsall Chord Do For Stockport?

I have to ask this question and until the timetables are published late this year, everything I say here will be speculation.

  • I would be very surprised if there wasn’t at least 1 electric tph that went to Manchester Victoria station.
  • Eventually, this service could be made more frequent and perhaps extended to Blackburn, Burnley, Huddsersfield or Stalybridge.
  • If Manchester Victoria has been designed right, there should be same-platform interchange at the station to TransPennine services to places like Hull, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
  • I also suspect train companies will use the chord to provide new services like perhaps Chester to Leeds, that could go through Stockport.

Forget HS3 for the moment, this is the reality of 2017.

Liverpool to Manchester Airport

Several stations in Liverpool have an hourly service to Manchester Airport and this will probably get better as more Class 319 and Class 319 Flex Trains are brought into service.

It’s rather ironic, but from what I have found, that it would appear that Liverpool gets at least as good a service to Manchester Airport as does the much Stockport!

And Liverpool’s service is likely to double in frequency in the near future!

The Liverpool and Stockport services to Manchester Airport, do have one thing in common though! Both have  intermediate stops at Manchester Piccadilly!

But why would you want to go to Manchester Piccadilly, when you’re just going a few miles down the road? Especially, as if you’re going to Manchester Piccadilly, you already have in excess of four tph.

Leeds To Manchester Airport

Currently, Leeds to Manchester Airport has a two tph service via Huddersfield.

When the Ordsall Chord opens that Leeds to Manchester services will go to a higher frequency via Manchester Victoria, thus improving the service to the Airport from Leeds, by giving Leeds passengers access to Manchester local tram and train services to the Airport.

Conclusions

Services from Stockport through Manchester will improve, due to the opening of the Ordsall hord and other electrification works.

But, Stockport needs a quick non-stop service to the Airport with a frequency of at least two tph for economic prosperity.

Perhaps to get a good service to Manchester Airport, your city must begin with L or M.

 

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

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 | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Is There Anywhere A Class 319 Flex Train Can’t Go?

I have just seen an early copy of Porterbrook’s brochure for their new Class 319 Flex train.

This is an extract.

Porterbrook determined that the most arduous route would be Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton, which has a steep gradient and multiple stops along its 25 mile route 9(8 miles of which is electrified). This anlysis was included to give confidence that the Class 319 Flex would be comparable to existing Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) technology across a range of different routes, stopping patterns and gradients.

So I took a quick look at the Buxton Line on Wikipedia.

This is said.

Due to steep gradients on this line, Class 142 and Class 153 DMUs are banned from the section of line between Hazel Grove and Buxton. Therefore, services to Buxton are worked by Class 150 and Class 156 DMUs. Also Class 158 DMUs were once blocked from operating on the line to Buxton due to the possibility of the large roof-mounted air vents striking low bridges on the route.

Note the two extracts both say “to Buxton”, as obviously, the trains can use the free power boost of gravity on the way down.

To back this up, trains are currently timed to take 37 minutes to climb from Hazel Grove station to Buxton and 33 minutes for the gravity-assisted return.

A driver once told me, that the brakes on a Class 319 train are up there with the best. So there’s little chance of runaway train syndrome.

Train Services To And From Buxton And Hazel Grove

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for Buxton, this is said.

There is generally an hourly service daily (including Sundays) between Buxton and Manchester Piccadilly, taking about one hour. The service frequency is enhanced to about half-hourly in the morning and evening peaks. A limited number of trains (currently seven on weekdays in total) work through beyond Manchester, with one train each of to/from Blackpool North, Clitheroe, Barrow-in-Furness, Wigan North Western, Wigan Wallgate, Preston and Bolton.

Note.

  • Of these destinations, several are not likely to be electrified in the near future, but could be reached by a Class 319 Flex.
  • Some would also allow the trains to stretch their legs under the wires of the West Coast Main Line or the Manchester to Preston Line.
  • As the Buxton Line is double-tracked would a more powerful train enable more frequent trains?
  • Buxton station may have had improvements to ease turning trains.
  • At present, Northern don’t seem to run any trains further than between Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton stations, but with the opening of the Ordsall Chord at the end of 2017, running trains past Piccadilly could ease the load on one of Manchester’s main stations.
  • Despite Manchester Piccadilly to Hazel Grove being electrified, at present, no electric trains serve the route.
  • ,Clitheroe station  is probably the most interesting destination, as like the Buxton Line, the Ribble Valley Line  needs trains with some qualities common in mountain goats.

It looks like Buxton is going to get a much improved train service.

It should also be noted, that once the Manchester to Preston line is electrified, all services from Hazel Grove to Manchester and Preston could be run by Class 319 trains, whether they are the Electric or Flex variant.

Can and will the service between Manchester and Hazel Grove via Stockport be a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph electric service from the December 2017 Timetable change?

Range On A Full Tank Of Diesel

Or that might be two tanks, as is there one in each driver car for each engine?

The brochure says.

The Class 319 Flex unit would have the capacity to make five return trips per day for two days before refuelling is required.

That surely is more than adequate.

Could The Buxton Line Be Electrified?

It would be assumed that the Germans, French or Italians would electrify a line like the Buxton Line.

But this is not always the case and I’ve used lines in Germany to reach towns the size of Buxton and the lines are not all electrified.

Electric trains on an electrified line have the advantage of bags of grunt and would handle the route with ease.

But it would cost and it wouldn’t be the easiest of engineering projects. I suspect too, that there would be objections to gantries marching sall over the Peak District

I think with modern technology there might be a better and more affordable way.

The Class 319 Flex is just a first solution.

Comparison With The New Class 195 Trains

I suspect it is unlikely that the new Class 195 trains ordered by Northern will be unable to reach Buxton, but they won’t be in service for a few years.

Comparing the two train types, it would appear.

  • Installed power is about the same.
  • But what about the weight?
  • The Class 319 Flex has 12 First Class seats and 255 Standard Class seats in the brochure, as against 204 seats in a three-car Class 195 train.
  • The Class 319 Flex is a bi-mode that can use electric power, between Manchester and Hazel Grove.

It will be an fascinating comparison: A thirty-year-old British Rail-built train with a bi-mode upgrade against a new Spanish-built diesel multiple unit.

Along The Hope Valley Line To Sheffield

The Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield has two electrified links at the Manchester end to Piccadilly.

  • Via Hazel Grove and Stockport, where electrification reaches to Hazel Grove
  • Via Guide Bridge, where electrification reaches almost to Hyde North, to serve the electrified Glossop Line.

Theis important route between Manchester and Sheffield has been marked down for new Class 195 trains, but I suspect that the distance is within range of a Class 319 Flex.

The Manchester end of this route could be a fertile area for using Class 319 Flex trains. As a simple example, they could be used to bridge the gap between the electrification on the Glossop Line and Rose Hill Marple station.

Conclusion

Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton may be a tough route, but if a train can can climb to Buxton crush loaded with passengers, there are a lot of benefits to the operator.

  • Electric trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Hazel Grove.
  • Releasing of platform space in Piccadilly when the Ordsall Chord opens.
  • Back-to back services between Buxton and Blackpool, Barrow, Clitheroe and Wigan. I suspect there’s a lot more.
  • A possible two trains per hour to Buxton.
  • Two electric trains per hour to Rose Hill Marple.

And that’s just for starters!

 

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Timelapse Video Of Ordsall Bridge Replacement Over Christmas 2016

I have created a post of this video, to make it easy to find.

I was pointed to the video from this page from Place North West.

January 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Passing The Ordsall Chord Site

The first set of pictures were taken on Friday between Deansgate and Salford Cresent stations show the current state of the bridge across the River Irwell.

I took these pictures were taken on the Saturday, as my train from Liverpool went between Eccles and Manchester Victoria stations and then from a second train from Manchester Victoria on its way to Wigan via Salford Central and Salford C resent stations.

Note.

  • The first train was the 11:20 from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria.
  • The second train was from Manchester Victoria to Wigan Wallgate.
  • The biggest crane on the site has a capacity of 1,350 tinnes and is the largest mobile crane in the country.

I’ll be going back, when it all reopens to have a look.

Probably the best way to get the pictures is to go to Manchester on a sunny day, buy a Lancashire Day Ranger ticket and constatntly shuttle back and forwards across the various lines.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Deansgate Station

I took these pictures of Deansgate station  as I passed through.

Deansgate station needs a lot of improvement.

This Google Map shows the area.

Around Deansgate Station

Around Deansgate Station

I don’t think, I’ve seen an area of a UK city, with so many parked cars. Why aren’t people coming into the City by using the trains and the trams?

All that wasted land could be used for something useful like housing or commecial developments.

I walked to the station and I used the lift to get to the platform, but even so, I still had to climb quite a few steps. I wonder that it is station that many avoid because, the access is better at other stations.

On the other hand it is an interchange to the Manchester Metrolink at Deansgate-Castlefield.

Also when the Ordsall Chord is completed and when a full timetable is implemented, surely there will be many more services through the station.

So hopefully, improvements are planned.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

A Walk Around The Ordsall Chord

I took this walk around the Ordsall Curve.

I’d taken one of Manchestewr’s free city centre buses and a walk to the Spinningfields area.

This Google Map shows the layout of lines in the area.

The Area Of The Ordsall Chord

The Area Of The Ordsall Chord

 

Walking North-East to South-West along Water Street, the bridges in order are as follows.

  • The Prince’s Bridge is a disused road bridge, noticeable because of its zig-zag construction, which will be demolished. There’s more on the bridge on this page on Manchester History.
  • Then there is the single-track line, that the Museum of Science and Industry used to run their replica locomotive.
  • The Windsor Link Railway which connect Salford Crescent and Deansgate stations, appears to share a wide bridge with the line to the museum.
  • The last bridge is the direct historic line between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly.

This Google Map shows the lines as they cross the Irwell in detail.

Across The Irwell

Across The Irwell

Note in the North-West corner of the map, the line between Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria stations via Salford Central can be seen.

The Ordsall Chord will run in a North-South direction between this line and the line to Manchester Piccadilly.

Under Proposal in the Wikipedia entry for the chord, this is said.

The Ordsall Chord would preserve connectivity between the relocated East-West services and the city’s existing main rail interchange at Manchester Piccadilly. It would also improve rail access to Manchester Airport, which at present cannot be reached easily from Victoria. Without the chord, such operations would require for trains to be run on and then reversed back at Salford Crescent.

The would enable services such as.

  • Huddersfield, Leeds and York to Manchester Airport.
  • Leeds to Crewe without a change or a reverse in Manchester.
  • Huddersfield to London without a change.

It will also enable services on the Northern branches out of Manchester to be connected to those going South, with stops at both Victoria and Piccadilly in Manchester. This will mean that passengers needing to cross Manchester will probably be able to change trains once, rather than use the tram. it should also mean that both major Manchester stations will be able to use their capacity better, as trains will go through Manchester rather than terminate in the city.

No-one could argue that building the chord is simple, although released images show it to be dramatic.

An Artists Impression Of The Ordsall Chord

An Artists Impression Of The Ordsall Chord

Note.

  • In the image, you can see the historic Liverpool to Manchester Line behind the bridge.
  • Deansgate and Manchester Piccadilly stations are to the left with Salford Central and Manchester Victoria to the right.

After walking past the bridges, I crossed the river and followed Trinity Way virtually all the way to Salford Central station.

As I walked, I took these pictures.

The one thing that surprised me about this visit, was that propgress in the short time, they’ve had since all the legals were settled, seems to have been purposeful.

From Salford Central station, I was able to get a train to Preston, where I stayed the night.

June 20, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will It Be All Systems Go For The Ordsall Curve?

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Court of Appeal dismisses Ordsall Chord legal challenge and it talks about Mark Whitby’s fight to stop the Ordsall Chord being built.

This is said.

A legal appeal following the dismissal of a challenge to the process for granting permission for the Ordsall Chord has been dismissed.

The Court of Appeal today upheld a ruling to dismiss a challenge from Mark Whitby, former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

The Court dismissed all three appeals made by Whitby against the decision of Lang J in the Mrs Justice Beverley Lang: two statutory challenges of the Transport and Works Act order and of the Listed Building Consent, and a judicial review of the planning permission.  The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgement early in the new term, after Easter.

I hope this is the end of it, and work can proceed on the much-needed new infrastructure.

But I suppose there’s always the Supreme and European Courts!

I am a Londoner and one thing puzzles me about this case. If say in London, there was an argument about such a piece of infrastructure, those making the fuss would be local people, as they are in Chelsea and Wimbledon over Crossrail 2. In all the reports on the Ordsall Chord, the councils, politicians and the media seem to be in favour and only one lone person is against.

This article in Building gives an insight into Mark Whitby.

 

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

The Saga Of The Ordsall Chord Goes Into Extra Time

If there is one railway project that sums up one of the worst problems often faced by rail planners in this country it is the endless saga of the Ordsall Chord. Wikipedia describes the chord and the reason for building it in this paragraph.

The Ordsall Chord is a proposed short railway line in the Ordsall area of Greater Manchester. It will link Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria and it is expected to increase capacity in the region and reduce journey times into and through Manchester.

Sadly, the endless fights, that this worthy aim, which would be to the good of millions of rail travellers, could have been avoided if history was different.

The Picc-Vic Tunnel was one of three major tunnels under Northern cities to improve rail services. The other two in Liverpool and Newcastle were built, but Manchester’s solution was cancelled by that very bad friend of trains in the North; Harold Wilson.

And then, the Ordsall Chord was proposed as an alternative to the tunnel. Wikipedia says this.

The chord was first proposed in the late 1970s. Parliamentary powers for its construction were received in 1979, but the project was cancelled. Network Rail revived the proposal in 2010 as part of its Manchester Northern Hub proposal. Funding for its construction was announced in the 2011 United Kingdom budget. It is scheduled to be completed by December 2016, and will cost around £85 million to construct.

So the proposal has been around a long time and since 2011, there has been the money to build it.

In A Single Objector Holds Up The Ordsall Chord, I expressed my despair at the delay and said this.

I will not judge this case one way or the other, but one of the reasons for bad economic progress in the North is  poor and outdated rail infrastructure. So surely, it would have been better to have got this argument out of the way a couple of years ago.

I do wonder in this country, how many projects don’t ever get started because organisations like Network Rail feel it is better not to have a fight and leave the inadequate status quo alone.

So now according to this article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled Whitby issues new challenge to Ordsall Chord, the original objector is taking his challenge to a higher court. This is said in the article.

That High Court ruling also refused Whitby the right to appeal. However, Whitby has appealed this refusal, and on January 11 the Court of Appeal granted Leave to Appeal. Thus the former President of the Institution of Civil Engineers is set to launch his third attempt to derail the Ordsall Chord project, on a date to be set later this year. “The grounds of appeal raise important points and have real prospects of success,” the Court of Appeal said.

Comments from Council leaders in the area are less than pleased.

In another article in Manchester Confidential, there is this user comment.

If Mark Whitby is so right why did he lose the Judicial Review? The judge who heard the hearing Mrs Justice Lang who is no pushover in these matters. Ruled that the Public Enquiry was legally flawless and agreed with the planning inspector that the common good over ruled the objections to the Chord.

I don’t think its about historic buildings more Mr. Whitby’s dented big ego because his route was rejected. 

Hopefully if he loses he should be made to pick up the bill for all the public money he’s wasted.

I think a lot of people feel that way about Mark Whitby.

What worries me is that if the Court of Appeal turns down the appeal, will the case go to the Supreme Court and then an appropriate European one.

The only winners in this sad saga are the lawyers.

But there are millions all over the North, who just want to get about their business, who are very big losers.

And that doesn’t count, all taxpayers from Lands End to John O’Groats, who are eventually footing the bill, for one man’s stubbornness.

 

 

January 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 6 Comments

A Single Objector Holds Up The Ordsall Curve

This article from the Manchester Evening News entitled  Ordsall Chord delay: Town hall chief blasts single objector holding up £85m Piccadilly-Victoria rail link, is a superb example of how external factors contribute to delays in not getting vital rail and road infrastructure built and increase the costs, when they do get built.

I will not judge this case one way or the other, but one of the reasons for bad economic progress in the North is  poor and outdated rail infrastructure. So surely, it would have been better to have got this argument out of the way a couple of years ago.

I do wonder in this country, how many projects don’t ever get started because organisations like Network Rail feel it is better not to have a fight and leave the inadequate status quo alone.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments