Davenport Railway Station

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News Archive for 2009

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New Year's Eve

The last trains on our line on the evening of 31 December will be the 19:51 from Manchester Piccadilly (Davenport 20:09) to Buxton and the 20:27 from Buxton  (Davenport 21:08) to Manchester Piccadilly.


Heidi Mottram, Managing Director of Northern Rail, as been awarded the OBE for services to the rail industry. We understand she will be leaving the railway in March to take up a new job as Chief Executive of the Northumbrian Water company - 31 December

Sunday 27 December: reduced train services

The bad old days are with us again: Northern Rail announce, at short notice,  that they will be "operating an amended timetable or bus replacement service on some routes in the North West on Sunday 27 December due to a shortage of available conductors."

The first train to Manchester from Davenport will be at 09:59 and from Manchester to Davenport,  the last train will depart Manchester Piccadilly at 19:52.

The following services will be entirely replaced by buses, running times unknown: Manchester – Blackburn and Clitheroe, Liverpool – Manchester Airport via Earlestown, Liverpool – Manchester via Warrington, Manchester – Chester via Altrincham, Manchester – Manchester Airport stopping services, Manchester – Chinley – Sheffield local trains.

As far as we know, Stagecoach buses are running their normal Sunday service.

New Houses on Oakfield Road

Work has begun on the construction of two 'dwelling houses' on Oakfield Road opposite the garages. To see what they will look like, visit the Stockport Planning database - 24 December

Christmas trains (or lack of)

No trains will run in our area on 25 or 26 December, and on 24 and 31 December, services will finish early. The last trains on our line on the two 'eves' will be the 19:51 from Manchester Piccadilly (Davenport 20:09) to Buxton and the 20:27 from Buxton  (Davenport 21:08) to Manchester Piccadilly. There are also some bus replacements for the last trains of the day in each direction between Christmas and New Year.

Buses: For New Year's Eve revellers, Stagecoach Bus Route 192 Manchester - Hazel Grove will have a 'special service' running until 04:00. Route 192 will also operate on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, although no other local bus routes through Davenport will be running on these two Saturdays. There are trains on New Year's Day, though.

Above, Davenport station on the morning of 20 December. Trains have kept running pretty well though the recent snowfalls, although signalling problems are reported on the Bolton-Preston line on 22 December. Always check the live departures. In the case of Hazel Grove - Preston trains, you need to check the incoming train to Hazel Grove that calls at Davenport an hour earlier to see if it is on its way from Preston, as Hazel Grove - Preston trains do not get their actual time recorded until they leave Hazel Grove. - 22 December

Advice: If you are heading to Manchester for the Christmas Market, etc. we strongly advise you to catch the trains at xx.37 from Davenport,  which start from Hazel Grove, rather than those from Buxton which can become extremely crowded.

New timetable: New timetables began nationally on 13 December 2009. There are only a few changes on our line (see below), but do check the Journey Planner before travelling.

Electrification mania: Transport Minister Lord Adonis, in recent announcements, has outlined plans for electrification of several lines in the North West:

Liverpool - Manchester via Rainhill
Preston - Manchester via Bolton
Huyton - Wigan
Preston - Blackpool

The Minister's statement is available on the Parliament website. What it means for us is that we will have to put up with gross overcrowding of the present diesel trains until about 2014, as a proposed order for new diesels for us has been cancelled. Second-hand electric trains will work the new electric services, this freeing up more diesels for other lines such as to Buxton, and the Stockport - Hazel Grove electrification, currently almost disused, can be brought back into play.

Very nice, but we need extra trains now. On Sunday morning 13 December conditions on the trains into Manchester we disgraceful, with 100 or so people standing on a 2-car train. We rang Northern Rail who assured us that every available carriage was in service, so ... hard cheese, basically. - 14 December

The Friends of Cale Green Park present:


Sunday 6th December, Cale Green Park, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

ELMFIELD BRASS BAND • Tea, Coffee & Homemade Cakes • Face Painting • Craft Stalls •Tree of Wishes • Tree of Light

Special Attraction: Rudolf the Rodeo Reindeer (Seasonal Rodeo Ride)

Join us for a seasonal Sunday afternoon in the park. Listen to the
band playing, sing Christmas carols, enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of
home made cake, make a wish, buy a raffle ticket and/or buy something from the Craft Stalls.

Sponsored by Cale Green Park Residents’ Association and Community Foundation for Greater Manchester (Grassroots Fund)

New in our Local History section

We have a new feature based on the account book of 'The Alders', a house which once stood on The Crescent in Davenport, including a complete replica of all the entries which cover the period 1899-1917. It was the home of the four unmarried daughters of Henry Coppock, Stockport's first Town Clerk. - 20 November

New timetable available

The new timetable for our line, effective from 13 December, can now be found in PDF format on the Network Rail website. Changes are fairly minimal: the annoyances for Davenport passengers, such as the shortage of evening through trains from Oxford Road, still remain, as does the  departure time for Manchester at 14:05 when all the others are at xx:07 or 08. Indeed, an additional trap has been introduced, in that the 16:37 is moved to 16:35.

One change which is noticeable is that the railway no longer provides a train at 15:47 from Buxton, which has been a long-standing commitment for the use of schoolchildren. Since the introduction of the Class 180s on the Hazel Grove service, this has been achieved by terminating the 15:47 from Buxton at Hazel Grove, with passengers changing there to the 16:33 180-worked train to Preston. The 16:04 Hazel Grove to Barrow has been run by a train arriving empty at Hazel Grove from the the Stockport direction, and the train from the 15:47 from Buxton has waited in Hazel Grove sidings before heading off empty to Stockport later.

From 14 December, the equivalent train will start from Buxton 20 minutes earlier at 15:27, in the standard pattern, and continue through to Barrow, departing Hazel Grove at 16:04, removing the need for the two empty movements. Much simpler for the railway, but any schoolkids who cannot make the 15:27 will have to wait at Buxton until 16:25. - 14 November

Stations Made Easy

The National Rail Website now includes, in its information for each station, a map and pictures intended to assist people of restricted mobility in judging whether they can use the station. Go to their stations page, search for the station you want and select 'Stations made Easy, from the options.

Here is a link to Davenport's page: the problem with this kind of information is maintaining it accurately for so many stations. For example, Davenport's waiting room 'automatic doors' have not been automatic for many months now and show no sign of being repaired - not that a wheelchair-bound person could ever get from the street as far as the waiting room. The Manchester platform is totally inaccessible by wheelchair, even with help; there was some discussion at one time about making a extra way in, possibly from the Crescent Close area, but this is unlikely ever to occur. (The Manchester-bound platform at nearby Woodsmoor does have have level access, by a rather devious route.) - 10 November

Metrolink news (updated)

Metrolink trams in the City Centre are  now back to normal operation.

Steam alert!

A steam-hauled charter train 'The Tin Bath' will be passing (non-stop) through Davenport station on Sunday morning 18 October, scheduled to pass Stockport at 11:48 on the way to Sheffield. It will be double-headed by two 'Black 5' locomotives 45231 and 45407. The train runs in a circular route from Manchester Victoria, and will not pass our way on the return trip. More timing details.

'Leaf Fall Timetable' from 5 October

Monday 5 October is the 'first day of autumn' in railway terms, which means some slight changes to the timetable on our line until 12 December. Trains will be leaving Buxton generally five minutes earlier than normal, and running slightly earlier from stations down to Hazel Grove, to allow for possible 'adhesion problems' due to leaves on the line. Times at Davenport station are unchanged (in theory, at least...)

Arrival times at Buxton will also be a few minutes later than previously. Oddly, no allowance is made for the existence of the large trees overhanging the line in the Davenport area: let us hope that the special Rail Head Treatment Train, which will be running each day to clear the rails, does its job well.

Ride for Ryder in Stockport 19 September

Sue Ryder Care is encouraging you to cycle into Stockport’s historic Market Place for a fun day out on Saturday 19 September from 11am - 3pm, organised by Stockport Market Traders Federation with support from Stockport Council.

Cyclists arriving at St Petersgate Bridge will receive a certificate as thanks for participation and be able to enjoy a fun-filled day that will include a Dr Bike cycle doctor, Danny Zapparelli’s cycle circus, bicycle security marking by the local police and much more, in addition to enjoying Stockport’s traditional market, the Underbanks area and Stockport’s town centre.

Cycle fitness fundraising activities will include 'How far can you cycle in a minute?' with support from Decathlon Stockport and a spin class provided by Stockport Sports Trust. 

Ride the Goostrey Music Train (next event)

On Wednesday 14 October, well-known local 'folkie' Geoff Higginbottom will be performing traditional and contemporary folk music on the 19:04 train from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe as far as Goostrey. The train will call at Levenshulme (19:09), Heaton Chapel (19:12), Stockport (19:16), Cheadle Hulme (19:20), Handforth (19:24), Wilmslow (19:27), Alderley Edge (19:30) and Chelford (19:34), before arriving at Goostrey.  The music then continues at the Red Lion pub, Goostrey, before returning on the 22:01 departure from Goostrey back to Manchester Piccadilly.

Geoff Higginbotham's style is described as 'very varied encompassing traditional and contemporary folk played on guitar with an emphasis on crowd participation'.

No need to book in advance – just buy a return ticket to Goostrey (if 2 of you are travelling together you can save money with Northern Rail’s ‘duo’ ticket offer).  For further details, please contact 0161 218 1515 or 07800 618 147. 

Metrolink (finally) running to Altrincham again

'Metrolink services on the Altrincham line are now operating in full, following the completion of work to repair damage to overhead power equipment between Timperley and Navigation Road.'

'Services to two stops - Altrincham Interchange and Navigation Road - had been suspended following a mechanical fault on Wednesday 1 September, but trams are now running on the full length of the line to St Peter’s Square every 12 minutes.'

The expected re-opening of the lines in the Cuty Centre between St Peters Square, Piccadilly and Victoria is now said to be Novermber 2009. - 8 September

No trams to Altrincham

For the whole of August, Metrolink are suspending their Manchester - Altrincham and Eccles services (details), as well the the existing closure of the city centre stations. Bus replacement services will be running, and it is worth noting that Navigation Road and Altrincham stations can be reached by an hourly train from Stockport. It is hoped that these trains will be expanded to four coaches for the duration of the work.

Bus news

Assorted changes to the local bus network: as usual Stagecoach have adopted their summer schedule on route 378, with some buses running slightly earlier at intermediate points.

Route 372, Stockport - Woodsmoor - Bramhall North Park Road, which is a 'tendered' service paid for by the Passenger Transport Authority, has passed from Stagecoach to Bakerbus of Biddulph, Staffordshire, who also took over the Stockport - Poynton - Macclesfield earlier this year.

See the GMPTE website for details.

Not mentioned here before is that daytime journeys on Route 374, Hazel Grove - Stockport via Davenport, now run through to and from Reddis, calling at the other end of Stockport town centre for Sainsbury's etc. However, fare-paying passengers for Sainsbury's and Tesco will find it much cheaper (after 09:30) to travel to Stockport station by train from Davenport and use the free Stockport Shuttle bus which departs from Stockport station entrance. - 27 July

Retro Railtours news

Our friends at Railtours are running an excursion to Ravenglass and Carlisle on 29 August, which picks up at Manchester Victoria (08:50) and is planned for haulage by two Class 20 diesel locos. A premier Dining option is available, which includes a First Class seat, breakfast and a 3-course evening meal.

See the Retro Railtours website for details. - 27 July

New local website

The Friends of Hallam Gardens, a support group for one of our local parks,  now have their own website, which is well worth a visit. - 8 July

Engineering work disruptions

All trains are running on the Buxton line on Sunday 14 June, but there are some changes to times: in particular, trains may leave Buxton earlier than normal. A PDF timetable is available from Northern Rail.

On Sunday 21 June, a different revised timetable will apply, with the first two morning trains replaced by buses over the Stockport - Manchester section.  Timetable available.

On Sunday 28 June, there will be a different timetable again! This time the first four trains of the day will be replaced by buses over the Hazel Grove - Manchester section (Timetable here.)

On Saturdays 20 and 27 June, the 22:56 Buxton - Manchester (23:36 at Davenport) train will terminate at Stockport with a bus connection forward.

From Monday to Thursday, 22 to 25 June, the last train of the day from Buxton will be replaced by a bus between Hazel Grove and Manchester, calling at Davenport 23:49.

The above shows the planned situation as of 14 June: things may change - do check the Journey Planner of the Northern Rail Engineering page if travelling at the above times! Note: Northern Rail have officially informed us (see item below) that Davenport's replacement bus stops are the ones at Cale Green Park. If you have any trouble with buses stopping elsewhere, please let us know so we can pass on the information to Northern. - 14 June

Steam Train operator ceases trading

Past-Time Rail inform us on 4 June:

'This is to notify you that for reasons beyond our control, we have had to cease trading and are regrettably in the process of appointing a Liquidator who will be writing in the next 7-10 days,to those of you who had current bookings. Most passengers who have paid by Credit Card will be able to claim a refund from the Credit Card Company in due course.  We anticipate that the refund will only be processed after the Liquidation has commenced in a few weeks time.  If you paid by Debit Card or cheque you will become a Creditor. 

'Our offices are now closed.  We have traded for many years and many passengers have travelled with us. We are truly sorry for the disappointment and any inconvenience caused by this sad news.  In the circumstances there was unfortunately no more that we could do.'

Among the trains now cancelled, unless they are picked up by another operator, are the 'Buxton Spa Express' excursrions scheduled to pass through Davenport, and the 'Cotton Mill Express' regular day trips from Manchester Victoria.

Bus stops - Northern Rail replied to our letter (below):

Thank you for your e-mail, which I received recently. The pick up and drop of points for Davenport are as follows: For Hazel Grove the bus stop is on Bramhall Lane opposite the entrance to Cale Green Park. The bus stop for Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly is located on Bramhall Lane adjacent to the entrance to Cale Green Park.

I have passed your comments to Ms. J Clayton in our marketing dept. She will consider your request.

[That's all ... so far]

A Letter sent to Northern Rail

1 June 2009.

Dear Customer Relations,

I have raised the following issue with local management and also at 'meet the manager' sessions yet nothing has been done, perhaps you can help by passing it on to someone who might take action.

It is quite common for bus replacement services to operate between Manchester and Hazel Grove line stations, on Sundays or late at night on weekdays - this week we have both.

However, adequate information is not provided to passengers about these buses and where to catch them.

At Davenport, a timetable is posted on a noticeboard that very few passengers pass when the station is not staffed, as it is located between the two entrances to the station. No information at all is provided about which bus stops are served by the buses at Davenport: there are stops both north and south of the station. Which one is for the railway bus? The timetable poster states that this information is on the 'Making the Railway Simple' poster at the station - but this is not the case.

As for Woodsmoor station, where the buses go nowhere near the station, as they run direct along Bramhall Lane, the information is given on the 'make it simple' poster there outside the ticket office, but this is very hard to find, especially if travelling towards Buxton.

Can I suggest that when you produce a timetable poster for buses, simple details of the stopping points should simply be included at the bottom of the same poster, and indeed on all timetables for use when required, and that these posters are prominently displayed on each platform of unstaffed stations, even if it means covering up the clever railcard advertising. (First North Western, your predecessors, did do this.)

I am a regular user of, and supporter of, your services, and am generally very pleased with them, but I do think this issue needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Getting left behind by the bus replacing the last train of the day would not be an experience anyone would want.

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Charlie Hulme

Festival on the Mid-Cheshire Line, 31 May

On Sunday 31 May our friends on the Stockport - Knutsford - Chester line are organising a family day of fun centred on their trains and stations. The Mid Cheshire Line Festival celebrates the UK's Community Rail Month with live bands and musicians on the 11.08 and 13.08 departures from Chester to Plumley and the 11.47 and 13.47 departures from Altrincham to Delamere.

Music ranging from folk, jazz, blues and traditional will continue until late afternoon at the Golden Pheasant Inn at Plumley and at Delamere Forest's Visitor Centre, where there will also be face painting for the kids - and then more music on the trains back to Chester and Altrincham.

More details on the Mid-Cheshire line website.

Report on recent public events

report by Charlie Hulme

With Mr Cain of the Friends of Davenport Station, I attended the morning Transport seminar run by GMITA (Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority) on Monday 11 May. Short presentations were given by people from the various transport companies, including (pictured above) Lee Wasnidge, Northern's new Area Director, West (front) and Paul Salveson, head of community and regional strategies (next to him.) They are clearly (and rightly in my view) proud of Northern Rail's recent performance, while apologising for the very bad time at the start of the new timetable during the winter. Punctuality and reliability is looking good with the parameters which have been forced on then: four-coach trains on peak time Buxton trains  have become more common recently, although there is a worrying tendency for little 'Pacers' to appear on Hazel Grove trains.

After the meeting, which was conducted much better by the new Chairman of GMITA than previous events, I asked them if there is any possibility of improvements in December 2009 to the evening timetables for Davenport passengers, in particular the lack of through trains from Oxford Road in the evenings, but they were not encouraging. They suggested we should press Stockport Council to make representations.

I was also able to 'have a go' at the head of Metrolink (who has come from Australia to take up the role.) I asked him why the timetabled departure times of all trams are not posted at stations, which would be especially helpful to people who were making connections with trains. He was very dismissive insisting that they prefer to work on a 'headway' system and that is OK because there will always be a tram along in 'a few minutes.' I couldn't make him understand that when travelling from Stretford to Davenport in the evenings I have to allow 12 minutes longer than I would if I knew the departure time of the tram.

Watch the GMITA website for the dates of further public meetings.

Saturday 16 May saw me on the Buxton Line 'Folk Train.' The 'Klemzmer Kollective' were playing on the train departing Davenport at 12:09.  For this train Northern had provided a single two-car Class 150 train, of which the band and their instruments were occupying one bay of seats. As a result, a number of passengers had to stand for a good part of the journey - and personally the long instrumental works didn't do much for me. I have enjoyed the evening trains to Goostrey, which run at a less-busy time with a longer (Class 323 electric) train; I wonder if lunchtime is really the best time for this on a busy line such as ours.

The idea was that the bands would play on the train and then in The Dome, Buxton (the old Devonshire Hospital dome, now part of the University campus)  near the station, where a 'Community Rail Day' was being held. This consisted of a few stands with people sitting at them with leaflets etc., and a smattering of visitors. By the time I had visited all the stand twice, the band or bands had not started playing as promised, so I left. Two things, however, rescued the event from my point of view: (a) I hadn't realised that The Dome (a remarkable piece of architecture) includes a public café, and (b) I find that I have won the free draw organised by Northern Rail for a free ticket to anywhere in their network!

Next: Sunday 17 May to the grounds of Quarry Bank Mill, Styal where Northern Rail had a stand at Victorian Day.

This coincided with the introduction of a train service (very two hours) for Styal station on Sundays and the launch of a new line-guide for Crewe-Manchester line featuring discounts at attractions including Quarry Bank Mill. 2009 is the centenary year of the Styal line.

The 'heritage bus' which met trains at Styal station turned out to be one of the early experimental Seddon 'midibuses' which were used on the short-lived circular service 376 in the 1970s, a circular route from Hazel Grove station to the Five Ways area via various residential roads whose residents campaigned against it as it might run over their kids. Similar vehicles ran on the original Manchester Centreline service.

Again, visitors to the railway side of the event, including some interesting displays by the Hazel Grove Model Railway Society and other local enthusiasts, were thin on the ground, as were passengers on the bus.  These community events are a great idea, but somehow people in this area are reluctant to venture out without their cars. (The athletics even in Deansgate on the same day probably didn't help this one, either.)

Styal's newly-restored Garden was looking good...

Passenger train up the 'Midland Line'

The Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association 'Great Eastern Express' excursion from Chester to Peterborough on 9 May provided the rare sight of a passenger train on the line from Northenden to Hazel Grove High-level Junction, passing under Bramhall Lane along the Davenport / Bramhall boundary. The picture, kindly supplied by Greg Mape, shows the morning train, with a Class 67 diesel each end, passing the old station at Cheadle, now a pub and restaurant, the Cheshire Line Tavern; in the background, occupying the old goods yard and shed, is the Golden Days Garden Centre. The line is normally used only by trains carrying limestone products from the Peak District.

Middlewood Way Closure

Cheshire East Council inform us that 'The Middlewood Way will be closed to all users from Poynton Coppice car park to Middlewood Railway Station from Monday 11th of May for approximately 10 weeks for major surfacing works. During this period there will be no access to walkers/cyclists or horse riders. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.'

Walkers will still be able to use the path from the station up to the canal to reach Higher Poynton, but cyclists are going to have more difficulty; however we are assured that the exit from the station to Middlewood Road, along the path by the old station house, will remain available during the work, so cycles can be walked along here and ridden along the road to Poynton Coppice to re-join the Way. - 9 May

'Jolly Sailor' reborn

Davenport's local pub, the Jolly Sailor, after a period of uncertainty in which the lease was for sale, re-opens on 21 April after a quick refurbishment. We are promised a 'grand reopening party' at 7pm on Tuesday 21 April. Let's hope the people of Davenport continue to support what is one of our very few community facilities.

On the subject of alcohol: most noticeable at the moment is the sheer number of outlets in Davenport now competing to sell us the stuff to take home (not to drink in the street, or on the station, the shopkeepers will no doubt assure us.). In the main shopping area on Bramhall Lane we have CostCutter, Spar and tastefully-named Bargain Booze. Then opposite the station we have the St George's Convenience Store (or Deane's Newsagent as us oldies still think of it). Down by the Jolly Sailor, cut-throat competition has broken out between the old Post Office, which now sells strong drink as well as grocery items, and the Thresher Off-Licence next door, which has now hit back by branching out into selling bread, milk, etc. If you want to have a haircut, then go home and get drunk, Davenport is the place for you .... - 20 April

One to avoid

Passengers on Platform 13 at Manchester Piccadilly attempt to board the overcrowded 2-coach 16:21 to Buxton on Wednesday 15 April. Your reporter, as well as the two ladies with pushchairs and children, were unable to board and were left behind to wait half an hour for the 16:51, which starts from Platform 11 and has plenty of room in its four coaches.

Bus cutbacks

Some changes to Stagecoach Manchester's bus routes in our area from 19 April include the reduction of route 378 Bramhall - Stockport from four to three per hour; now that the Government 'kick-start' funding has run out. Patronage has increased since the service was increased from two per hour, but revenue will only justify three per hour.

Also, Stagecoach has lost the Cheshire County Council contract to run route 191, with the result that the peak hour through 191 services from Middlewood via Hazel Grove and the A6 to Manchester will no longer run, the route now being Stockport - Middlewood only all day, run by Baker Bus of Staffordshire (!) and re-numbered 391, with still no Sunday service.

Meet the Manager

Northern Rail managers will be on hand at Hazel Grove station on Tuesday 7 April from 16:00 to 18:00 to listen to your comments on the train service.... and no doubt people will have comments to make (assuming they get back from work in time with the limited train service.)

Metrolink tram shutdown

There will be no Metrolink Tram service between Manchester Piccadilly and  Victoria or St Peters Square from 6 April for several months, while the tracks are re-laid.  A wholly inadequate bus service will be on offer, but for most travellers the normal free buses from outside Piccadilly station, or a train to Deansgate, will be a better bet. There is an information leaflet (PDF) from Metrolink.

Timetable trials and tribulations

The timetable inflicted on our line from December 2008 is unsatisfactory in many ways, including the fact that their attempt at a 'clockface' timetable includes tricks to catch out the unwary. One little trick is that the trains from Buxton to Manchester Piccadilly during the daytime off-peak call at Davenport at 08 minutes past the hour, except one which leaves three minutes earlier at 14:05! Why, we have no idea, but don't be caught out.

Another absurdity occurs on Saturdays. A train, outside the normal pattern, leaves Manchester Piccadilly at 17:09 for Hazel Grove. Useful, you might think, except that it stops in platform zero at Stockport for about ten minutes, and then does not stop at Davenport or Woodsmoor! When it finally leaves Stockport at 17:32 it is only three minutes in front of the 17:21 from Manchester which does call here. Weird.

Under pressure from passengers, a small change has been made to the Monday - Friday timetable, in that the 16:23 from Preston, which calls at Oxford Road at 17:19 and Piccadilly at 17:23, now calls at Hazel Grove instead of running non-stop from Stockport to Disley. Jolly good for the people of Hazel Grove, but still no help for Davenport passengers who still have no through train from Deansgate or Oxford Road for two hours during the evening peak.

'Integrated transport' news

We understand that the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (as we now have to call the PTA) have been discussing the problems with the new timetable with the railway companies. Let us hope that Councillor White, who is a member of the Authority as well as a Davenport councillor, has been able to get something done about the faults in the timetable for our line.

Here is an extract from the minutes of their Network Committee minutes for February 2009:

Northern Rail explained that a number of operational difficulties were experienced in introducing the new timetable. These included a lack of time to provide training to maintenance and train crew staff on those additional train units that had been introduced to operate revised and expanded services was a major factor in the poor delivery of the new timetable. For example, on 15 December, 123 trains were cancelled by Northern Rail due to crew shortages.

A large number of passenger complaints had been received by Northern Rail, 1944 in the 3 weeks to 3 January 2009, compared to 430 in the corresponding period a year earlier. A significant proportion referred to services north of Bolton and on the Hazel Grove/ Buxton route.

Given that the new timetable was designed to ensure that services were reliable and robust, a Member requested greater information as to the causes of those problems experienced. In response, the Interim Service Delivery Director undertook to discuss the matter with senior Northern Rail officials and write to Members with a detailed response.

Members commented that by identifying the root causes of those problems experienced with the introduction of the December 2008 timetable, provision may be made in the December 2009 timetable to address such problems.

On the live music train to Goostrey

On Thursday 19 March, we had a very enjoyable evening on the Crewe line 'music train,' The Andrews Brothers performed Country and Folk songs, with some fine guitar work, on the 19:04 ordinary service train from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe as far as Goostrey. This train calls at Stockport at 19:17, making a good conection with the 19:08 from Davenport. Two of us were travelling together, so we save 25% off the cost of your journey with a Duo ticket. Buying a ticket was problematic; as is so common these days the train conductor did not come through the train on leaving Davenport so we had to pay at the bottom of the stairs at Stockport, with just a few minutes for the connection, but we did make it. - 24 March

On arrival at Goostrey, we all walked to the very pleasant Red Lion pub, a short 7-8 minute walk from the station, where food is available if desired, and listed to the band again (and won a Wayfarer ticket in the free raffle!) before returning on the 22:05 departure from Goostrey, with live music playing again. Not such a good connection back from Stockport to Davenport, unfortunately. We walked home, but other options might be to stay on to Manchester and listen to more music before returning on the last Buxton train, or some might want to join and leave the train at Cheadle Hulme station. There is no charge for a music, except that a hat is passed round in the pub for donations to the band.

More details at the Crewe to Manchester community rail website. The next Folk Train will be on 16 April. Highly recommended; Thursday evening Folk Trains also take place on the Glossop line. The idea has been tried on the Davenport line, but on Saturday lunchtimes, which somehow seems a less appropriate time to be drinking beer and enjoying folk music. 

Steam train - 29 March

A steam excursion train hauled by locos 76079 and 45407 will (we hope!) be passing through Davenport on Sunday 29 March on the way to Penistone.  It comes our way in the outward direction only, and will take the curve at Hazel Grove on to the Sheffield line. Some times to hand: Manchester Victoria  d 11.10,  Stockport pass 11.43, Hazel Grove  pass 11.51,  Chinley North Jc pass 12.10,  Hathersage  a 12.30 d 12.32 Sheffield a 12.58.   The operator is Past-Time Rail.

NO Steam Train through Davenport  on 15 March...

Passengers who had booked on Past-Time Rail's  'Buxton Spa Express' steam-hauled excursion this year from Manchester Victoria to Buxton, advertised for Sunday 15 March, received a letter on 11 March informing them that the the train has been cancelled due to insufficient bookings.

Further runs are scheduled for Sundays 12 July and 29 November, and passengers have been offered  places on these. Better luck next time, perhaps. - 12 March

'Spotlight on Davenport'


Good to see the customised newspaper from the Passenger Transport Executive which came through all our letterboxes the other day: it is just the kind of thing that's needed. We enjoyed the little story by their reporter Bill Lancashire, obviously keen on the Plain English writing style:

It was just after 10 o'clock in the morning when I walked onto the platform at Davenport station and I thought to myself, "Well, this is very neat and tidy, but where is everyone? Why is it so deserted?" Then the passengers started to arrive. They knew that the next train to Manchester was at 8 minutes past and all of a sudden there was quite a knot of people gathered. It was then I realised just what a popular little station it was. I only had time to speak to a few of them before the train arrived - bang on time - and before I knew it, I had the station to myself again.

No wonder it is so popular, because during the 'rush hour' there are trains to Manchester every quarter of an hour or so, while throughout the rest of the day they run about every half hour. Best of all, it only takes around 19 minutes before you're stepping off in Piccadilly. Try to do that in your car! It's such good value too. An off-peak return to Stockport costs only £1.20, and to Manchester only £2.60, which is a lot less than it can cost to park your car in town. Many trains continue through Piccadilly to Oxford Road, Deansgate, Salford and some as far as Bolton and Preston, while heading in the other direction you can go to Hazel Grove and all the way to Buxton.

Very good: if a pity there are not a few more trains in the evening 'rush hour' ... and we would advise discerning passengers to eschew the '8 minutes past' train, which is very often crowded with people from the Buxton direction, and aim for the '37 minutes past' ones which start from Hazel Grove during the day.

Also "... the station also has its own website..." - fame at last! - 27 February

Cheshire Day Ranger improved

One thing that we learned from Spotlight is that the Cheshire Day Ranger ticket, introduced last year but not valid on our line, has now had its range greatly improved and includes the whole of the Buxton line as well as some other stations in Cheshire that were missed originally. For £18 (£9 children, £11.90 railcard holders, £3.40 for children travelling with family railcard holders) you can spend a day (outside the Mon-Fri morning peak) travelling at will, as far as Stoke-on Trent, Shotton and New Brighton. travelling.

Full details on the Northern Rail website.- 27 February

Welcome to Ken, our new regular stationmaster at Davenport station.

Model Railway Show in Chapel-en-le-Frith

A good excuse for a scenic train ride is the Model Railway Exhibition at Chapel High school, Long Lane, Chapel-en-le-Frith on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 February from 10am to 5pm each day. There will be around 20 working layouts together with demos, Mamod display, Night Riviera photographic display and several traders.  Also, Buxton model engineers are putting on a display of 'big stuff'.  Refreshments are available and it is on the level so no problem for the disabled.  Admission is £4 Adult & £2.50 concessions.  The organisers make donations to various local charities every year from proceeds and support Blythe House hospice.

The off-peak day return fare to Chapel from Davenport is £6.10, but two adults can travel together using a 'Northern Duo' fare for just £9.10. The exhibition venue is easy to reach from the station, about 10 minutes walk down the lane towards the town. There's a train every hour on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are valid for break of journey, so you could book to Buxton for £7.40 return (11.10 for a Duo) and call at the exhibition on the way,  before or after visiting the restaurants and other attractions of Buxton. - 19 February