November is the month when a lot of people head to town to do their
Christmas shopping, and unfortunately also the month when the railway
tends to let down its passengers. A spate of problems
caused by poor rail conditions (i.e. leaf mulch) despite the
running of 'Rail Head Treatment Trains' was followed on Sunday 15
November, when two trains had already been cancelled earlier in the
day, by the failure near Davenport of a Network Rail measurement train
heading from Stockport to Derby which blocked the line, resulting in
the cancellation of the 16:37, 17:05, 18:05, and 17:38 arrivals from
Manchester and the 17:15, 18:04 and 19:04 and 19:09 inward departures
from Davenport towards Manchester. Apparently a rescue locomotive had
to travel from Preston to move the failed train.
The rail adhesion problems also inevitably lead to trains slipping with
their wheels locked when trying to stop, which then grinds a 'flat' on
the wheel. Davenport station is on a down gradient towards
Manchester, and the line is lined with trees (outside Network Rail's
boundary), which is why travellers will observe drivers making a very
tentative approach to the station stop. It also explains the repetative
knocking sound when can often be heard as trains with damaged wheels
approach the station. What happens next is a shortage of carriages as
they are taken out of traffic for wheel repairs.
Few, if any, of these troubles can be attributed to the Northern Rail
company who are dependent on state-owned Network Rail for their
15 November 2015
The autumn timetables begin on 5 October: we recommend that you check your train times
before travelling. Some trains towards Manchester will be running a
couple of minutes earlier than before as it is the 'leaf-fall' season -
and also, most services which recently have been running through
Manchester to Preston are extended to Blackpool North, also returning
from there to Hazel Grove.
However, some changes which were planned will not be happening, as
Network Rail have announced that due to problems with sand, the rebuilt
tunnel at Farnworth between Manchester and Bolton will not not be
opening on 5 October as the train companies have been promised, but
will be continuing until December at the earliest. This has delayed the
production of the timetable booklet, but it is now available as PDF
download from Northern Rail
The Preston - Hazel Grove trains have had one of the worst punctuality
records of all Northern's services. Whether starting them back at
Blackpool, involving a crossing of the busy West Coast main line, will
improve matters, remains to be seen
03 October 2015
Community Rail Matters
Our line is now designated as a 'Community Rail' one, and Davenport,
Woodsmoor and Hazel Grove stations have been allocated to the South
East Manchester Comnunity Rail Partnership which has (although unknown
to us) existed since 2010. Like other such Partnerships, this has an
allocated Community Rail Officer, in our case it is Stephen Forde, who
is based at Stockport Council's Fred Perry House offices.
The idea is that the Community Rail Officer works railway operators,
local councils, and other community organisations, and rail user groups
(RUGs) to promote the line and its services. In the words of local
Community Rail Partnerships work to bring together
the railways and the local communities. Their work includes bringing
station buildings back to life, art and education projects and
organising special events, such as music trains, which promote the
railway and its relevance to the community.
In the case of our line, however, no such local group has managed to
develop in an active form, despite the efforts of some people over the
years although we at the website have done what we can, including our
little flower bed which you may have seen at Davenport, but there is
much more that could be achieved. Other groups have campaigned for
service improvements, which would certainly be welcome at out stations.
If you use Davenport, Woodsmoor or Hazel Grove stations, and are
interested in being involved in such a group, you are incited to
contact Mr Forde at the email address:
29 August 2015
Stockport station gates
Automatic Ticket Gates are in use at Stockport station from Monday
17 August, at each end of the subway. This has led to some controversy,
as many people who use the subway at present are simply making their
way from the Edgeley area towards the town centre, and the new
Stockport Exchange development outside the station, with its
supermarket and cafés, is likely to increase the numbers
wishing to pass this way. It's possible to cross the line by the public
footbridge from Shaw Heath to Thompson Street, then down the A6, but
this is a longer route for many journeys.
Virgin Trains, who have been required by the Government to install
these gates, say that the gates will be staffed by 'Welcome Hosts' who
will issue 'guest passes' to allow passage through the subway, and also
allow people to 'see off' passengers. When the Hosts are not on duty,
the gates will be left open. Ticket machines have been installed at the
Edgeley end of the subway, but there are types of ticket which are not
available from such machines, so some people will have to pass through
to buy a ticket.
ero, from which most trains to Davenport
depart, will have ticket checking staff provided by Northern Rail
from the same agency as the people who have been seen at the bottom of
the Platform 3/4 steps at present. So if travelling from the Edgeley
area towards Buxton you'll have your ticket checked three times. If you
arrive at Stockport without a ticket, which is very common as many
stations are not staffed in the afternoon and do not have machines, we
presume there will be someone in the subway to sell you one.
How well all this will work in practice, on Stockport County home match
days for example, remains to be seen, but it should have one advantage:
if changing trains to travel south from Davenport towards London, etc.
there will be no need to fish out your ticket to be checked at
Historical note: Older readers might recall that one side of the subway
used to be fenced off the allow people to pass through, but since the
lifts were made available to passengers this is no longer feasible.
Back in the sixties, there were staffed barriers at each end, although
the ticket offices were on the platforms. You would be given a free
'platform ticket' which you'd hand in when you bought a travel ticket.
Illustrated is one which we failed to 'give up when leaving platform'.
17 August 2015
Allotments open day
Fields Allotments Association
are holding an Open Day on Saturday 1
August from 10.30am to 2pm at their site, accessed from the end of
Flowery Field, Woodsmoor or by the footpath from Ringmore Road &
Kinross Avenue towards Woodsmoor station. There will be cream teas,
produce stalls, tombola, kids' activities, information about Mirrlees
Fields developments. Admisson is £1, concessions 50p, children
30 July 2015
Strike threat off - for now
The industrial action mentioned below will not now take place, as
Nothern took legal action. However, the staff grievance has not gone
13 July 2015
Strike threat (again)
Local RMT union members have voted to strike at a date as yet un-named.
The union is in dispute with Northern Rail over a series of issues,
including 'the removal of permanent posts and the creation of zero-hour
jobs via a contract with a security company, cuts to booking offices
and attacks on the role and responsibility of train guards.'
The union also say Northern Rail has given no commitment that there
would be no compulsory redundancies beyond the end of its current
franchise in February 2016. This is hard to understand, since a
different company will be running our trains then.
Northern Rail's management reply can be found on their website
7 July 2015
Local History update
Our article inspired by a picture of a tram on the A6 near Davenport
Park in the 1940s and the story of some of the lost houses along that
section of road has been updated with extra information from readers.
7 July 2015
Metrolink disruption and Metroshuttle Changes
From 28 June 2015 to 'late August' no Metrolink services run through St
Peter’s Square station, while it is rebuilt.
operate as below from 29 June:
Altrincham to Deansgate-Castlefield: 12 minute
service with double trams.
Altrincham to Cornbrook: Peak only 12 minute service with single trams.
Bury to Piccadilly: 6 minute service (7am to 8pm Mon-Fri, 9am – 8pm
Sat) and 12 minutes at all other times. Some double trams will run
during weekday peak.
East Didsbury to Deansgate-Castlefield: 12 minute service with double
trams in the peak.
Eccles to Deansgate-Castlefield via MediaCityUK: 12 minute service with
Manchester Airport to Cornbrook: 12 minute service with single trams.
Rochdale town centre to Ashton-under-Lyne: 12 minute service with
double trams in the peak.
A Metrolink shuttle bus will run from the Cornbrook stop direct to
Piccadilly, while passengers will also be able to catch free
'Metroshuttle' bus services at Deansgate-Castlefield. Walking routes
will also be signposted (see below).
Hazel Grove line passengers
heading for Metrolink points
beyond St Peter's Square, during the daytime Mon-Fri at least, may find
it convenient to catch one of the trains which runs through to Preston,
and change at Deansgate where the bridge to the Metrolink station is
now open again. Unfortunately, after 17:30 and all day Saturday, these
trains are currently terminating at Manchester Oxford Road because of
Network Rail engineering work. It is usually possible to change there
to a Liverpool-bound local train to reach Deansgate, which might still
be quicker than using a replacement bus.
The routes of the 'Metroshuttle' free buses
are changing from
28 June. The routes are now as follows:
Metroshuttle 1: Piccadilly Station – China Town (Portland St) –
Manchester Central (Peter Street) – Deansgate (Spinningfield) – St
Mary’s Gate – Piccadilly Station
Metroshuttle 2: Piccadilly Station – Oxford Road Station – Deansgate
Station – Spinningfield – Deansgate (Barton Arcade) – Victoria Station
– Shudehill Interchange – Victoria Station – Deansgate Barton Arcade –
Spinningfield – Deansgate Station – Oxford Road Station – Piccadilly
Metroshuttle 3: Piccadilly Station – MMU – Deansgate Station – MOSI –
Deansgate Station – Oxford Road Station – Piccadilly Station.
is available on the TfGM website. All these
stop running at 19:30, but route 3
runs later while
St Peter's Square is closed.
28 June 2015
Summer in Cale Green Park
A Summer Event in Cale Green Park is scheduled for Sunday, 28 June
(1:00 – 4:30). The highlights include Gez's Coconut Shy, a Punch and
Judy Show, Ferret Races (to be confirmed), a Chair-O-Plane Ride, Face
Painter, Donkey Ride, Bowls for Fun, Zorbing (to be confirmed) and our
star attraction is Rock Back the Clock (a superb 50’s Rock & Roll
band). There'll also be a Lakeland Picnic [Cumbrian lamb and 100% beef
burgers], Osaka Jo's, and our traditional Hog Roast. There are homemade
cakes and tea/coffee from the community room, crafts made by the local
residents, and a raffle.
Reply to email (see below)
13 June 2015. Dear Mr Hulme, Thank you for taking the time to
highlight this matter to us. I have passed your comments to our
Information distribution manager just in case he was not aware of the
error. Thank you again for contacting us and I hope you have not been
personally inconvenienced by this shortfall.
[The timetable posters have not been altered. Beware!]
Email sent to Northern Rail
I'd like to draw your attention to a significant proof-reading error in
the new Timetable posters from 17 May now posted at Manchester - Buxton
line stations. Several trains on Saturday afternoons are shown as
starting at Deansgate and terminating at Woodsmoor, whereas (of course)
they actually start at Manchester Oxford Road and terminate at Hazel
As a result of this error, the times at intermediate stations are shown
as five minutes later than the correct times, e.g. 16:21 from Oxford
Road instead of 16:16. It would be hard to correct this without
re-printing the sheets: I suggest that you do this as soon as possible.
19 May 2015
Timetable change from 17 May
A new timetable comes into operation from Sunday 17 May, and there are
some changes to train services at Davenport. Leaflets are available at
the station, and online
Salford Crescent - Bolton - Preston line, which when
complete will allow electric trains to return to Davenport on the Hazel
Grove - Preston service, perhaps by the end of 2016.
For the next few months, however, work at Farnworth Tunnel between
Salford and Bolton will restrict the number of trains on that line, and
it will be closed completely at weekends. On Saturdays, the
trains which normally run through to Bolton or Preston will be
terminating at Manchester Oxford Road station and starting from there
on return, although running at the usual times. Connections towards
Preston, Blackpool and Scotland via Wigan will be available, but Bolton
passengers will need to use a replacement bus at weekends.
On Sundays, most of our trains normally run to Manchester Piccadilly
and will be unaffected; the Sunday Hazel Grove - Southport trains run
via Wigan Wallgate and will also run as normal.
Network Rail has a
web page with a very interesting video
about the work being done at
Farnworth, which also has links to the temporary timetables.
16 May 2015
A thought on peak and off-peak tickets
As we have explained previously, the Government instructed Northern
Rail to require passengers to buy the more expensive 'anytime'
instead of 'off-peak' version of train tickets if boarding any train in
Greater Manchester on Mondays to Fridays between 16:01 and 18:30 as
well as the traditional pre-09:30 period. This is meant to increase
revenue and reduce overcrowding on evening peak trains, but it is a
great inconvenience to many, especially those wishing to buy the
combined train/bus and train/tram tickets as there is no 'peak'
equivalent of these, although the buses and trams can still be used in
the evening peak, if you find yourself returning by train between 16:01
and 18:00 you'll have to pay the extra fare.
However, there is one incidental advantage. If you do
return in the evening peak, then there is now no reason to wait until
after 09:30 to start your day out as you can use the 'anytime' ticket
before that time.
16 May 2015
A Davenport survivor of the Lusitania
100 years ago, on 7 May 1915, the liner Lusitania
was sunk off
the coast of Ireland by a German submarine, killing 1,198 people and
leaving 761 survivors Among the passengers was a resident of Davenport,
who lived to tell his story to the Manchester Evening News (14 May
Mr J.J. Battersby of Beechfield, Davenport Park,
Stockport, of the firm of Messrs. Battersby and Company, who was saved
at the sinking of the Lusitania, has arrived home and is not confined
to his bedroom suffering from the effects of his immersion in the sea.
Mr Battersby had a wonderful escape. When the ship was sinking he was
swept off the deck, whirled against two staircases, and then he found
himself drawn through the water at a tremendous rate. He had the
presence of mind to hold his breath, but when he came to the surface he
had almost lost consciousness. The Lusitania had disappeared, and Mr.
Battersby states that he floated past a collapsible boat, and
distinctly heard someone say, "Leave that man, he's done for."
Mr. A. Quinn, [Alfred
Quin], the head bedroom steward of the second-class, however,
dragged Mr. Battersby into the boat. There were thirty or forty in the
boat, and they were afterwards picked up by the trawler Brock, but it
was nearly eleven o'clock at night before they got into Queenstown. Mr.
Quinn, to whom Mr. Battersby owes his life, returned to Stockport with
Most of the passengers with whom Mr. Battersby became acquainted on
board were drowned, including a lady who helped him to fasten on his
lifebelt, and Mr. Battersby says it was a most painful experience to
meet the relatives in Queenstown and tell them in what circumstances he
last saw them.
Mr Battersby lived until 1949. By a strange irony, his son James
Larratt Battersby became a fanatical follower of Adolf Hitler, and was
interned on the Isle of Man during World War II.
7 May 2015
Bus service changes
As we predicted in an earlier item, from 13 April the evening
services on bus route 374 which runs on Mondays - Saturdays between
Stockport, Davenport and the New House Farm estate, which have been run
under contract to Transport for Greater Manchester, will no longer
operate. The last bus of the day from Stockport is now at 18:05,
although there will be a service from Hazel Grove station towards
Stockport via New House Farm at 19:50; there's a train from Manchester
which arrives at Hazel Grove at 19:48, but since this is deregulated
Britain, we can't recommend relying on this this connection.
Better news is that Stagecoach have been able to win back the evening
service on the 378 Stockport - Bramhall route, so their DayRider and
other types of pass will be valid all day on this route.
Timetable leaflets in PDF: Route 374
12 April 2015
Our thanks to the Friends of
Cale Green Park
for the donation of the bulbs enabling us to plant
these daffodils by the Buxton-bound platform entrance.
3 April 2015
Southport for Easter
In a temporary alteration related to engineering work on the Manchester
Victoria area, on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday most
of the Davenport daytime departures at 40 minutes past each hour will
continue beyond Manchester to Southport via Wigan rather than Bolton or
Preston as normal, with corresponding hourly return trains. An
opportunity for a day trip to the seaside, perhaps. Check nationalrail.co.uk
03 April 2015
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 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-opening 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