Plans for New Franchise
On 27 February the Department for Transport has published its
requirements for the Northern and TransPennine raiway operations in the
form of Invitations To Tender. Also published is a Stakeholder Briefing
Document, which summarises the responses received to the eariler
consultation and explains what will be happening in the new franchises.
Details, and links to the documents can be found on
the Government website
. The highlights for Northern are given as:
- removal of the existing 'Pacer' trains [the ones with bus
- ordering at least 120 new-build carriages
- modernising every train operating on the Northern franchise
- doubling the number of services on many routes on the
- providing more services for commuters, during off-peak
times and on Sundays
- investing at least £30 million to improve stations
along the Northern franchise route
- creating a Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF)
to invest around £13.8 million to deliver benefits for passengers
- introducing free wi-fi on all Northern trains by 2020 at
Whatever organisation bids to provide all the above for the lowest
annual subsidy will be awarder the contract to run the local
railways.The Department’s aim is for the new Northern Franchise to
commence operations with effect from 02:00 hrs on 1 April 2016.
We understand that three providers have by shortlisted as 'preferred
bidders': Abellio (Netherlands state railway), Arriva (German
state railway) and Govia (partly owned by the French state railway).
The current Northern Rail is jointly owned by Abellio and
multi-national service group, but Abellio intend to 'go it alone' in
future. It's a curious fact that rail 'privitisation' has led to many
of our rail services earning money for foreign governments.
Incidentally, the operator will be allowed to make over-inflation fare
increases to fund the new rolling stock. There are also suggestions in
the docoment that some trains might run without conductor/guards on
lines where there was sufficient opportunity to buy tickets at stations.
There's a spreadsheet provided which specifes the minimum number of
trains which must be provided at each station. If we understand this
rightly, in the case of Davenport this is much the same as at present
on weekdays, the service between 10:00 and 16:00 remaining half-hourly.
However, on Sundays from December 2017 the specification calls for a
half-hourly service between Manchester and Hazel Grove for most of the
day (mostly hourly at present), half the trains continuing to Buxton.
Annoyingly, however, the current poor level of Sunday services to
Middlewood is accepted, with its unnecessary inconvenience to leisure
users of the Middlewood Way with no benefit to anyone else.
27 February 2014
A new timetable is in force from 16 February, although the changes are
actually shown in the current Manchester - Buxton timetable leaflet.
The principal change is that on Saturdays, trains running beyond
Manchester will terminate at Bolton rather than continuing to Preston
We are assured, however, that contrary to the impression given by the
leaflet, the Saturday train which calls at Manchester Piccadilly at
17:21 will continue to stop at Davenport and Woodsmoor.
In addition, following protests to their MP by Middlewood residents, it
will also soon revert to stopping at Middlewood, a stop which was
removed (leaving a three-hour gap in service) when Northern were
persuaded (by our MP) to stop the train at Davenport and Woodsmoor. It
does seem ridiculous to us that the railway planners have to be ordered
by senior politicians to stop disrupting people's lives for the sake of
a couple of minutes, rather than simply listening to the views of
passengers, station adopters and user groups.
17 February 2015
Pub and bus news
Further to our earlier items, we can report that the 'Jolly Sailor' is
open again with new and very pleasannt decor, including on the
walls interesting framed pictures of historic scenes in the area. It is
good that not only do we still have the place when so many pubs are
closing, it serves excellent food and drinks too.
Further news on bus services is less encouraging in that from March,
Transport for Greater Manchester will no longer subsidse evening
services on route 374 between Stockport, New House Farm and Hazel
Grove, so the last 374 bus from Stockport will be at 18:05. On the
other hand, Stagecoach will re-gaining the evening contract for the 378
bus, putting an end to the irritating situation where one can but a
Stageoach 'Dayrider' for en evening out in Bramhall, only to find
it is not valid on the bus coming back because it's run by another
17 February 2015
St George's Vicarage
The following comes from Purcell Developments:
Members of the Local Community — Help shape our vision for the
rejuvenation of the former St Georges Vicarage site.
Monday 16th February 7pm: Meeting at the St Georges Parish Room
We, Purcell Developments, are part of the nationally acclaimed Purcell Architects
proposing to acquire the St George's Vicarage site and bring forward
proposals which we hope will be fully supported by the local community.
We have carried out extensive studies over the last several months
which we would like the opportunity to share with you. We would like to
gain your views on our proposals, and use your ideas to inform and
shape our final plans for the site.
We are holding an early evening meeting in the St George's Parish Room
on Monday 16th
February at 7pm and would welcome your attendance where, after a brief
presentation, we'll be
happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our emerging
plans for the site.
We look forward to seeing you on the 16th and hearing your views and
[How the Grade II listed building was allowed to get into such an
appalling state - see
- is a long and sad tale replete with
accusations and denials which we won't repeat here.]
3 February 2015
Some changes people should know about:
The 'Jolly Sailor
' pub is closing at end of the evening on 25
January to undergo a 'Major Refurbishment'. Grand re-openbing is
planned for 6 February.
: From 25 January The 378 bus
Stockport to Bramhall is to revert to two buses an hour weekday
daytimes, instead of three. The 374
bus will no longer continue
beyond Stockport to Reddish, and on the Davenport / New House Farm
section is reduced to an hourly service outside the peak times. Buses
will travel by a longer route to Hazel Grove station via Cavendish Road
and the 'Five Ways' then continue beyond Hazel Grove station to
Stepping Hill Hospital.
Timetable leaflets are available in PDF format from
In Manchester the footbridge from Deansgate station
Metrolink stop has been closed for much-needed refurbishment. This
means that, for the time being, changing from train to tram there,
normally simple, requires a long walk to the far end of Deansgate
Locks and a climb of several flights of steep metal stairs.
22 January 2015
Historic building lost
Bramhall House, a (just) surviving early nineteenth-century mansion
alongside the Mirrlees Fields right-of-way - seen above in August 2014
- was demolished on 16 January, despite objections from local
campaigners. Its site, along with the former factory site - but not any
of the fields - is to become an estate of about 240 new dwellings. See
for more information.
The footpath towards the MAN entrance is now blocked, although a route
may be re-opened in the future: the only way out to Bramhall Moor Lane
is to turn left along Barlows Lane South.
16 January 2015
Be aware that fare increases have taken effect nationally from 2
January. Included in the changes is the very useful Wayfarer
: the adult version is now £12, although the Concession
version remains at £6.
Some good news is that there has been a very welcome relaxation of the
recently-introduced and controversial 'Evening Peak fares' rules.
Off-Peak Day Returns from Davenport to stations beyond New Mills on the
Buxton line are now valid from 08:59 Mondays-Fridays, with no evening
peak restriction, returning by any train the same day, and all day on
Saturdays and Sundays. A Cheap Day Deturn to Buxton is now £9.70.
However, this relaxation does not apply
to 'Northern Duo'
tickets which remain disallowed between 16:01 and 18:29.
Cheap Day Returns to places outside Greater Manchester on the Crewe and
Chester lines, changing trains at Stockport, are valid from 09:29,
returning on any train, with no evening peak restrictions.
Tickets from Davenport to Manchester Central Zone are now priced as
Anytime Day Return £5.90
Anytime Day Single £3.60
Cheap Day Return £3.40
Cheap Day Single £3.30
Be sure to say when booking return tickets after 09:30 whether you are
departing from Manchester or Stockport between 16:01 and 18:30 on
Mondays - Fridays. However, should you buy the cheaper ticket and find
a need to return in the 'peak', it is permitted to pay the difference
at the ticket office before return travel, although at Piccadilly
station there may well be a tedious queue. Booking a single ticket
'just in case' will be a more expensive option, as the fares listed
The same applies to other Greater Manchester stations: and if your
return journey from a Greater Manchester station involves a change of
trains, be aware that the departure time of either train
determines the fare, even if the starting time from your destination
station is in the off-peak period. For example, if you are returning on
the 15:49 from Urmston, changing in Manchester, you must have an
'anytime' ticket as the 16:16 connecting train from Manchester Oxford
Road to Deansgate is within the 'peak'.
4 January 2015