Essential Local History reading
A newly-published book full of essential history is 'A History of
Woodsmoor' by Sue Bailey. 101 pages packed with pictures, information
and stories about the Woodsmoor area, researched by Sue over the last
four years. We heartily recommend a purchase of the book which costs
just £10 from Woodsmoor Post Office, Stockport Heritage Trust,
Staircase House, or 'Simply Books' in Bramhall.
30 April 2016
New Timetable from 15 May
New Timetables apply from 15 May: a PDF of our local booklet can be
downloaded from the Northern
. The basic pattern of service remains unchanged, including
the absurd lack of a train to Manchester between 08:06 and 08:40. One
notable change is that the 17:23 train from Manchester, which has been
continuing beyond Hazel Grove to Chinley, will terminate at Hazel
Grove. We have heard suggestions that an electric train may appear on
this service, which is true will be the first electric train we have
seen for some time.
30 April 2016
Oakfield Road access update
As mentioned earlier, last month we prepared a report, which we have
sent to Councillor Wendy Wild
on the difficulties encountered by pedestrians needing to negotiate the
Oakfield Road Garages area on the way to and from the station or
village. Download your copy here
Councillor Wild has responded by raising the matter with the Council:
I discussed the issues you raised and the following
is a summary of the actions that I've agreed with officers to progress.
Feasibility study on walking routes along Oakfield Road from Beechfield
Road to Bramhall lane:
Check condition of footways and if on maintenance
Check existing bus stop – lines and sign
Traffic Regulation Orders:
Investigate junction protection at the junction of Beechfield Road and
Investigate the one way system to determine if anything can be proposed
to discourage drivers using the wrong way.
Contact UTC to discuss pedestrian crossing timings on the junction
of Bramhall Lane and Garners Lane.
We await any further developments.
28 Aoril 2016
All Northern trains are currently running with all the 'Niorthern Rail'
logos and web addresses removed.
Welcome to the new 'northern'
The new rail franchise operated by Arriva (a
subsidiary of the German state railway) is operating our trains from 1
April. Their website is at www.northernrailway.co.uk
nice that Whaley Bridge has been chosen as an illustration for
their List of
01 April 2016
Davenport Post Office's new look, March 2016
Reminder: trains between Hazel Grove and Buxton are replaced by buses
for all four days of the Easter weekend 25 - 28 March while the new
bridge over the A555 road is moved into place. The 21:29 and 23:10
Manchester - Buxton trains are also replaced by buses beyond Hazel
Grove on 21 - 24 March. Arrivals and Departures from Davenport will be
at the usual times, but expect much longer journeys.
Elsewhere, and not directly affecting our trains, Manchester Victoria
and Salford Crescent stations are closed from Thursday 24 March
to Sunday 3 April while Network Rail carries out preparation work for
the new 'Ordsall Chord' line. Full details of the many changes to
times, and temporary timetables, can be found on the Northern Rail website
14 March 2016
It seems that the (slightly
unimpressive) image seen here represents the brand logo to be used in
future for the train services of what has recently been Northern Rail,
the idea being that - as in Scotland - there will be a branding
independent of the company operating the franchise. From 1 April, that
company will be Arriva Rail North, whose fancy website is now online at
They have followed the lead of Northern Rail in using the .org domain,
intended originally for non-profit organisations.
12 March 2016.
The new Arriva North company must be wondering what they are taking on,
following yet another major disruption of the service on the morning of
10 March by another 'broken down train' incident, this time near
Levenshulme. The 06:49 train from Hazel Grove to Manchester left
Stockport on time at 07:00, and appears from the railway database to
have finally reached Manchester Piccadilly at 09:45. Many other trains
were heavily delayed: one of the passengers affected was Ian
McMillan, celebrity poet and railway lover, probably on a train from
Sheffield, who took to Twitter in the hope of getting
information. As usual, the details of what happened will not be made
However, we have found out from local contacts what happened on the
morning of Friday 4 March (see item below). The 'broken down train' was
not a train at all, despite Northern Rail's comment, which is why such
a train never appeared on the Network Rail database. It was a road/rail
contractor's machine which had been working overnight on preparations
for the installation of the new bridge over the A555 at Simpson's
12 March 2016
New Franchise - the Union view
Somewhere in the small print of the new franchised documents is statem
ent that the Department of Transport is expecting a large saving saving
in Government subsidy over the period of the franchise. Here is what
the RMT Trade Union thinks of it all:
There is no
basis for cost cutting on the North’s railways. According to Rail
North’s own estimates passenger demand for the north’s railway will
soar by 50% over the next fifteen years. Despite this, and the clear
need for investment, the Government has stated that annual subsidy will
be cut by £160m, or 53% by the final year of the franchise.
Furthermore, through Rail North
there is now a real opportunity to
bring decision making closer to the passengers who use the services
because Rail North has responsibility for overseeing and developing the
franchises on key issues such as train service levels and what station
and train staff will be available to assist passengers and protect
their safety. This is despite the German state railway winning the
contract to operate the franchise, through a cuts-driven tender process.
RMT will continue to argue for a publically owned People’s Railway for
The Union believes there will be 'attacks on supervisory and clerical
jobs, the introduction of Driver Only Operation and increased
casualization arising from the re-franchising processes.' Whether
they are right remains to be seen: the idea of 'Driver Only Operation'
has been bandied about in Government reports recently. Passengers might
well welcome it as it would avoid the irritating waits for the
conductor to finish selling a ticket, return to the cab and open the
doors, but a lot of work would need to be done on station
infrastructure - mirrors, or cameras/screens - to make this feasible.
11 March 2016
Snow in Spring
Spring scene, 4 March.
If you are thinking of travelling by train to sample the attractions of
Buxton Spa over the Easter weekend, be prepared to travel by
replacement bus on any of the four days, as the line beyond Hazel Grove
is closed while a bridge is installed to carry the line over the new
green-belt-destroying A555 road at Simpson's corner. The allocated
running time of the bus between Hazel Grove and Buxton is a wearying 61
minutes (less than 40 minutes by rail), which may prove optimistic
given the congestion of the A6 road common on Bank Holiday evenings. To
this must be added the 10 minutes allowed for the transfer between
train and bus. Dogs and bikes are not carried on the buses, and of
course the bus stop for Midlewood is on the main road, reached by a
half-mile footpath from the station.
06 March 2016
Another bad week
The first week of March 2016 turned out to be another troublesome week
for passengers on our line. Wednesday 2 March was a traumatic day, with
cancellations and delays in the middle of the day followed by
'signalling problems at Hazel Grove' (again) in the afternoon which
left Davenport passengers for the 16:08 to Manchester stranded on the
station with no information about what was happening, and no train
until 17:20. On 3 March the 10:49 Manchester - Buxton was
terminated at Stockport due to 'traction equipment problems'. Worst of
all, on Friday 4 March, a 'broken-down train' led the a complete
abolition of the morning peak service between Hazel Grove and Buxton,
with trains turning back at Hazel Grove with ad hoc
timings. The first train of the day to leave Buxton was at 10:18.
How a single 'broken down train' could lead to this, given that a
number of trains spend the night at Buxton ready for the morning peak,
and the line is double-track, isn't obvious; we thought it might be
snow-related, but Northern Rail's 'Twitterer' denied this. As usual,
don't expect details to be made public.
Metrolink passengers are allowed free parallel bus routes during
disruption, but local rail passengers are expected to pay for the
bus trip. Yet both are in the fiefdom of Transport for Greater
Manchester. Why is this?
06 March 2016
What will Arriva do for us?
With one month to go before the German State Railway subsidiary 'Arriva
North' takes over the running of our trains, the present company seems
to be keen to wash its hands of the place already, as orders have gone
out to cover up the Northern Rail logo on signs and posters.
The new owners have been promising lots of improvements, including
scrapping the 4-wheeled 'Pacer' carriages which appear here
occasionally, although they have never been allowed to venture beyond
Hazel Grove towards Buxton. 98 new trains (some diesel, some electric)
to be built by CAF in Spain will be hired, but that doesn't necessarily
mean we will see them, as it's likely they will be used on a promised
new network of faster trains between main cities, and we'll get the
current diesels - refurbished, but will the Class 150 units still have
those dreadful 3 + 2 seats that your editor is too wide over shoulders
to fit into without intimacy with the adjacent passenger? Probably,
since the politicians are obsessed with counting seats, however useless.
Of more concern is the frequency of train service which to be provided.
The requirement agreed to by Arriva have now been published online and
can be downloaded
. The information is quite hard to interpret,
especially as it concentrates on the number of trains to/from
Manchester in given parts of the day, ignoring any other journeys
people might wish to make, such as Davenport to Buxton.
The document lists the requirements for December 2017 and December
2019. We'll look here at the table for the Buxton line, December 2017,
and the numbers of trains in the Monday - Friday weekday off-peak
period between 10:00 and 15:59 - six hours in other words - these are
arrival times in Manchester.
Dove Holes 4
Whaley Bridge 6
Furness Vale 6
New Mills Newtown 12
Hazel Grove 24
So it seems we will still have the inadequate half-hourly service we
have today. Buxton retains its hourly service as now, but New Mills
gets an improved service from one to two per hour, and Hazel Grove
jumps from two to four per hour. All these trains must pass through
Woodsmoor and Davenport, but which ones will be the 12 that stop here?
It's impossible to tell from the information available.
However, remarks in the press about faster trains from Buxton might
imply a revival of the idea that Buxton trains will be the among ones
missing our stops, an idea which was implemented in the 1990s and
eventually abandoned after many complaints and has surfaced again
recently, condoned by Transport for Greater Manchester officials - who
one might think would favour their own stations over those in
Derbyshire. One of the benefits of living here is the easy access by
train to the Peak District, and of course Davenport and Woodsmoor
stations are used by pupils from the High Peak attending local schools.
One of the reasons for opening Woodsmoor station was access to Stepping
Hill Hospital for High Peak residents. We are trying to get the facts,
but it's hard to know who to ask.
The speed limit for all trains on the Hazel Grove - Edgeley section is
just 40mph, with 25mph round the curve into Stockport, and the trains
which run non-stop over that section at present do not gain significant
time over those that stop, so why deprive us of a useful service? In
the past, Davenport has had three, and sometimes four, trains per hour
each way. Davenport was once busier than Hazel Grove, but the opening
of Woodsmoor in the early 90s has divided the figures, as many
passengers previously walked from Woodsmoor to Davenport to catch their
trains. Hazel Grove station has also benefited from people who drive
there to take advantage of the car park and Greater Manchester's
cheaper rail fares.
New Mills Newtown does not now have a crossover between tracks, nor any
signals, so any train terminating there will need to continue to
Furness Vale before returning. However, as things stand the crossover
there, north of the station, is not equipped with the safety devices
for trains containing passengers, so trains will have to return empty
to New Mills to pick up. Perhaps there will improvements made to the
signalling arrangements before December 2017; the extra New Mills train
is going to need some smart working to avoid delays, which may be why
it apparently doesn't call at Disley.
Official estimates are available
for the combined total of
'entries and exits' at all stations for the financial year 2014-15.
These are calculated by tickets sold plus (gu)estimates of the use of
concession passes, wayfarers, etc:
Davenport 274,848 (down from 286,326 in 2013-14)
Woodsmoor 219,366 (up from 208,856)
Hazel Grove 658,226 (down from 672,504)
Why Woodsmoor seems have bucked the trend is a mystery: it's probably
due to changes in the way the statistics are compiled, or maybe since
the fares are the same, conductors have not changed their machine
settings. A fall in usage might well have been expected since the
restrictions in off-peak fares which came into effect in September
2014, but who knows? Our station certainly isn't the quiet
backwater that some officials seem to imagine.
01 March 2016
From our history file...
A press cutting from 24 April 1994. Guess who placed and paid for the
notice in the Post Office window?
01 March 2016
A troubled week
The first week of February saw our early daffodils open, but in other
ways it was a troubled week for the local rail network. On Wednesday,
the locomotive of a DB Schenker freight train from Trafford Park to
London gateway gave up the ghost while passing through Oxford Road
station, blocking the junction at Castlefield used by our Hazel Grove -
Blackpool trains for over an hour until a loco from the Freightliner
company was commandeered to drag the train out of the way.
Worse was to come the following day - around 08:30 all the signalling
in the Hazel Grove area suffered a major power failure, with the result
that no trains at all ran through Davenport for several hours.
Noticeably (above) even the signal light at the signal by Davenport car
park, which is actually controlled by Edgeley Junction signalbox, was
showing no light at all.
None of these problems are under the control of our train company
Northern Rail, but it would be good to see some explanation or apology
online. Replacement buses were supposedly provided, but of course why
would a Davenport passenger wait for one rather than catch an ordinary
bus to Stockport even if buying a ticket is needed. When there are
problems on Metrolink, arrangements are quickly made to accept their
tickets on buses, so why cannot the same apply to trains within
Transport for Greater Manchester's area?
Elsewhere, the damage due to storms was still having its effect on the
main line network through the week, with the Carlisle - Glasgow,
Newcastle - Carlisle, and Settle - Carlisle main lines all closed for
07 February 2016
Alterations ... to Alterations (update)
We have been informed that the closure for engineering work of the
Hazel Grove - Stockport line
planned for Sunday 24 January
has been cancelled, and trains
run as normal, except that the 09:04 train to Manchester is replaced by
a bus at 08:59 to Stockport for onward connections.
However, there will still be replacement buses running between
Stockport and Alderley Edge (calling at Wilmslow) and Stockport and
Stoke-on Trent. Trains between Manchester and London, South Wales and
the South-West will be running via the Styal line, calling at Wilmslow,
Crewe and also - in some cases - at Stoke-on Trent.
The changes to
train schedules (below) on Saturday 23 January
still apply: the
between Manchester Oxford Road and Bolton is closed and replacement
buses for that section will run all weekend.
Check your journeys carefully on the National Rail website
22 January 2016
Although not as well publicised as they might have been, there are some
changes to Davenport's train services for the weekends of 9/10, 16/17
and 23/24 January.
trains which normally run beyond Manchester
Oxford Road station are terminating at, or starting from, Manchester
Oxford Road, running in the normal timings.
9 January 2016
As usual, the new year sees an increase in train fares. Day return
fares to Manchester Central Zone from Davenport are now £3.50
'off-peak' and £5.90 'peak'. The 'Peak' fare (which has not
increased) applies to any journey, out or return, starting on Mondays -
Fridays before 09:30, and/or between 16:01 and 18:30. (At weekends
'off-peak' fares apply all day.) Remember that these times apply in
both directions, so although the 16:08 to Manchester may appear not to
be full of commuters, it is still a 'peak' train. The last train in
the afternoon from Piccadilly before the 'peak' is the 15:49, the first
train after the 'peak is the 18:49.
9 January 2016