News Archive for 2011
Christmas services (or not)
As usual there will be no trains from early evening on Christmas Eve to
a later start in the morning on 27 December. See the following links
for full information about Christmas changes. This year Stockport
station will be closed all day on 1 January for engineering work, with
diversions and replacement bus services in operation.
For anyone interested in taking a photograph, a DB Schenker (empty)
stone train, complete with Class 60 banker, headed up through Davenport
at 10:40 on 27 and 28 December after the path of the Preston-Hazel
Grove , so looks like it might be a regular path for Thursday and
Friday. The 24 trains a day, mentioned in the press release (see below) seems like
overestimate though: very few have been seen during daylight hours so
Davenport to Chinley
The 17:23 (Mon-Fri) all-stations Manchester Piccadilly - Chinley
departs from Stockport on 14 December. The train formation was a
two-coach Class 150 plus a two-coach Class 142 'Pacer' and conditions
were reasonably comfortable, at least after Levenshulme. Let's hope it
stays that way.
Sunday 18 December changes
The National Rail Journey Planner is showing a replacement bus service
in operation on Sunday 18 December between Dove Holes and Buxton, while
engineers install a crossover at Buxton to facilitate the work
described in the next
item. This will mean that departures from Davenport to
Manchester will be about 15 minutes later than usual, until normal
departure times resume with the 16:08 from Davenport. (see the Journey Planner)
Manchester-bound Trains will start from Dove Holes and travel as far as
Furness Vale crossover on the 'wrong line' calling at what are normally
the southbound platforms at Chapel, Whaley Bridge and Furness Vale.
16 December 2011
A week of freight
A Network Rail press release of 15 December reads:
Freight trains from the Buxton area that supply
material to power stations to keep them on line as part of the national
grid, are being diverted over the Christmas and New Year period while
Network Rail carries out vital work in Dove Holes tunnel on the
freight-only railway line between Peak Forest and Chinley which is to
close for nine days between Christmas Eve and 2 January while Network
Rail carries out track and drainage renewal.
All the trains will pass through Davenport station and Stockport
station; some will use the route between Heaton Norris Junction and
The £4.4m project is essential because the line serves a number
of quarries in the area that power stations rely on for regular rail
deliveries, as they do not have sufficient space to stockpile
everything they need.
The nine-day closure means that the essential freight trains will be
diverted via the passenger line between Buxton and Stockport, which
normally sees little freight traffic. As a result of the diversions, up
to 24 freight trains a day, with as many as 22 wagons each, will be
using the route over the holiday period.
The material supplied to power stations is limestone which is used in
'de-sulphurisation plants' that remove the sulphur compounds produced
by burning coal, by converting Calcium Carbonate to Calcium Sulphate -
Gypsum - which is then sent by train to factories which produce
plasterboard for use in building. There will also, we imagine, be
trains of stone for the chemical plants at Northwich which normally use
the line that passes under Bramhall lane near Midland Road; in past
diversions of this kind these trains have reversed at Stockport.
More details to come ... if we can get them. The running times of
daytime trains are going to be limited to
New Timetable 11 December
A new timetable period begins nationally on Sunday 11 December; few, if
any, changes to Davenport's trains can be spotted except that trains
revert to the slightly later times of the 'non-leaf-fall' timetable,
and the 17:23 (Mon-Fri) Manchester - Hazel Grove (Davenport 17:39) will
continue beyond Hazel Grove to Chinley. For full details, see the Journey Planner.
If you are thinking of an evening in Chinley for a meal or drink,
getting back is not so easy, although you could catch the 21:16 from
Chinley for a 25-minute walk from New Mills Central round to Newtown to
get back to Davenport at 22:08. The fare for the journey is based on
going via Manchester, though, which makes it expensive.
More seats ... but not for us
On 9 December I arrived at Stockport station to catch the 15:52
Manchester - Buxton train due to depart Stockport at 16:05. Not 'peak'
you might think. On Planet (sorry, Platform) Zero I found 80 people
waiting to board the train, which turned out to be just two coaches,
already 'full and standing.' I just managed to squeeze into a corner of
a vestibule ... and at Davenport, as usual, 50 students from Aquinas
College were waiting to board.
That evening I received an email from Northern Rail entitled 'More
Seats on Peak Trains' which tells of the new coaches they are getting
and the lines on which they will run, and points to the same information on
their web site. Lots of seats are going to be added on a number of
routes, but what about our line? Well, 'On the Buxton line we'll be
providing an extra 125 seats on one early morning train.' Well,
thanks for that, Northern! - Charlie Hulme
9 December 2011
A 'drama' occurred opposite the station just as it was opening for
business in the early morning of 6 December, when a fire, said to have
been caused by a faulty heater, broke out in a flat above
the corner shop across the road at 126 Bramhall Lane. Fire engines and
ambulances attended, and the fire did not spread to the shop of
adjacent properties. There's a report
Stockport Express - thankfully the four young people
the flat, who were rescued having climbed on to the roof, were released
from hospital after treatment for smoke inhalation.
Crew Commander Jim Collins, from Stockport Fire Station, said: "All
four people were risking their lives by being in the premises purely
because there were no smoke detectors. It was lucky they were alerted
to the fire when they were ... The initial responding crews did a
fantastic job in rescuing the people as quickly as they did."
Updated 8 December 2011
Don't be left behind
We made a rough count of Manchester-bound passengers waiting for Buxton
- Manchester trains at Davenport on Saturday 3 November when there was
no football match in Manchester:
|Already standing by Davenport (estimate)
|Left behind on platform
|10:06 (class 150 2-car)
|11:06 (Class 156 2-car)
Moral - catch the xx:35 trains!
6 December 2011
The future of our train service
We don't normally delete items from this board, but following
investigation into the matter we have removed the articles about
possible service reductions. Instead, please read the following written
for us by Mr Chapman, Rail Services Planning Officer of Transport for
Greater Manchester (TfGM, successor to GMPTE):
TfGM is aware that there have
been some misunderstandings around possible rail timetable changes on
the important Manchester - Stockport - Buxton corridor. TfGM has never
had any proposal to reduce services at Davenport or Woodsmoor. In fact,
over the past 18 months, TfGM has been working with Northern Rail and
other stakeholders to implement improvements to the capacity, frequency
and speed of these services. The changes we are pursuing are as
We understand that, as part of the long-term improvements, following
electrification of some lines north and west of Manchester which may
involve Buxton services running half-hourly running through to the
Liverpool via Warrington Central line. It was in this context that the
idea of 'skip-stopping' arose, with alternate trains missing out
Davenport or Woodsmoor. Davenport would still have two trains per hour,
including the Hazel Grove service, but presumably at uneven intervals,
which doesn't seem a great idea, but is a discussion for another time.
• For weekday services Monday to Saturday, we have proposed changes
that will speed-up journeys between Manchester, Stockport, Davenport,
Woodsmoor, Hazel Grove and beyond, and which will also mitigate some of
the overcrowding on these services.
• On Sundays, we have instigated work by Northern Rail that could
introduce an additional service to Davenport, Woodsmoor and Hazel Grove
every two hours. This will increase the frequency between Hazel Grove,
Stockport and Manchester from one train per hour, to three trains every
The impact of the changes being pursued by TfGM will be to maintain, or
increase the number of trains at Davenport, Woodsmoor and Hazel Grove,
as well as enhancing capacity and reducing journey times.
The above changes will be implemented from the new rail timetable from
In the longer term, and potentially following completion of the
Northern Hub later in this decade, plans may be developed to allow for
a half-hourly all-day service to run to Buxton. Should such proposals
be implemented there would be no intention to reduce the frequency of
trains at Davenport or Woodsmoor.
Worth reading in this context, in the interest of balance, is a report
meeting on 17 November, in particular Item
6 December 2011
Friends of Cale Green Park
Unfortunately the 'Owl Carving' event planned for 1 December
never took place, as when the man arrived it was decided that the
allocated tree stump was too decayed to be used.
The 'Christmas in the Park' on Sunday 4 December did go ahead with all
the promised attractions incluing the brass band, but the occasion was
spoiled by the cold and rainy weather which kept many people away. We
did show our faces, buy some items form the stalls and have some tea
and cake - a big 'well done' to the Friends of Cale Green Park
for persevering in the awful conditions.
6 December 2011
A reply (of sorts) from Northern Rail
Here's the reply received from Northern Rail to our letter (see below
overcrowding of the 17:23 Manchester - Hazel Grove:
Dear Mr Hulme
Thank you for your e-mail, which I
I am sorry that you are unhappy with your
regular commute. The issue of matching demand to resource is one that
drives considerable activity at train operating companies around the
country. Regrettably, at this time of year a large number of our units
are removed from service for an annual service. Unfortunately, like a
car we are unable to operate our units unless the annual service is
passed and unlike a car the service can take between 1 - 3 days to
complete. The fundamental issue behind
the problems you are highlighting is caused by two specific factors:
the size of the current fleet of trains operated by Northern and the
continuing growth of passenger numbers.
As you may already know, the Northern
franchise was created based on the expectation that passenger numbers
would remain steady and that the existing fleet would be suitable.
However, with passenger numbers increasing by approximately 10% per
year, this has certainly not been the case! The day-to-day management
of overcrowding is therefore a significant challenge for Northern and
the Rail Industry as a whole.
This is not to say that overcrowding is
acceptable. It is uncomfortable and stressful for our customers and we
will continue to do everything we can to keep such instances to a
Since the start of our franchise in
December 2004, more and more passengers have chosen to travel with
Northern. We have experienced an enviable 38% growth in customer demand
in just five years but carrying an additional 24 million people every
Regrettably, there is no easy or quick
win to securing additional rolling stock for Northern due to the nature
of our franchise agreement with the UK Government, the lack of
available train units in the UK market and the cost exceeding the
Northern currently has 644 train
carriages which is a 10% or 61 more then when we first started our
franchise. When adding the recent agreements with government for extra
carriages and other changes to Northern this will increase to around
691 carriages making the increase around 19%.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to
Does it occur to anyone that this might not be a reply to my letter,
but a ready-prepared document? One does wonder why a 'large number of
units' have to have their annual service now when services are very
busy, and not in the summer.
Goodbye 'Bullet Trains'
It looks as through the 5-coach Class 180 inter-city trains which have
been used on the 09:35 and 16:30 trains to Manchester in recent times
have now been taken out of traffic, to be sent back to the leasing
company, now that less luxurious replacements have been drafted
in. Shame, it was fun while it lasted!
They are to return to service with First Great Western, the company
they were built for, which a few years ago decided it did not want them.
21 November 2011
A Letter sent to
On behalf of your passengers from Davenport, I wish to complain about
overcrowding being experienced on the 17:23 train from Manchester
Piccadilly to Hazel Grove.
This is the only practical train for Davenport passengers who finish
work in Manchester around 17:00, the next one being not until 17:51 in
the meagre service currently in force since the former 17:37 was
I understand that the 17:23 is supposed to be four coaches, but on a
number of occasions recently, including both 16 and 17 November, it has
been just two coaches, and conditions have been very unpleasant. This
is despite the fact that Northern Rail has recently received a number
of additional carriages.
The average number of Davenport passengers using this service is around
40 to Davenport alone, plus with others for Woodsmoor. Because it calls
at Levenshulme and Heaton Chapel it fills up with passengers for those
stations. From December it will also be expected to carry passengers
It is to be hoped that you will do something soon to improve this
(We'll pass on any reply. Feel free to join the campaign.)
20 November 2011
New local history feature
A new feature in our history section, 'Early
Davenport' inspired by the discovery of a photograph showing the
station in its earliest form, explores what we know about the first few
years of Davenport's existence.
4 November 2011
'New' trains arrive
Regular travellers may have noticed some trains in a rather bilious
green colour appearing on our local trains. These 'Class 150' units, of
the same two types (with or without end corridor connections) as
already in the Northern fleet, have been sent from the Birmingham area
to Northern Rail by the Department for Transport experts in London, who
decided in their wisdom that some shiny new 3-car
trains should be built for West Midlands services, and we should
get their 'cast-offs.'
There are to be 18 of these two-car units, although they Northern fleet
will not increase the Northern fleet by 18, as four of the rather more
luxurious 'Class 156' trains are to be transferred away to East
Midlands Trains, and on 11 December we are sadly losing the three
five-coach 'Class 180 bullet trains' one of which can be seen at
Davenport a couple of times a day. However we are also getting back
some of the Northern Rail four-wheel 'Pacer' trains which have recently
been rattling around Devon and Cornwall. Still, more carriages of any
sort are better than nothing. Let's hope that peak-hour trains will now
always be formed of four coaches as they should be.
Out of interest, the numbers of the 'new' trains are (according to Railway
Magazine) 150 103, 110 to 119, 204, 206, 210, 214, 220 and 226.
Trouble at the Vicarage
Controversy rages at the end of Bramhall Lane, since the Diocese of
Chester has applied for permission to demolish a Grade II listed
building: the abandoned vicarage, built c. 1900 in the 'arts and
crafts' style, in the grounds of St George's Church. The story even
made the pages of Private Eye magazine a few weeks ago. The
documents relating to the application are available on-line on the
Council planning database by following
link. A full planning application has also been submitted for
demolition of the former vicarage, the school annexe, a playground
shelter and partial wall removal to enable the construction of a new
school building, and change of use of the existing junior school
building from D1 (Non-residential institutions) to C3 (Dwellinghouses),
together with associated access, landscaping, hard and soft play areas
and car parking. The existing school buildings will, it is proposed, be
turned into 12 residential flats, a nursery and a 'parish facility'.
The vicarage building has been allowed to fall into a virtually
derelict condition, allegedly by a property developer who bought it in
2004, although it seems that he actually sold it back to the Church in
2005. The proposal is to build in its place a 420-place primary school
building about which the architects (Blue
Architects) say 'The solution for the new school seeks to
maximise the heavily treed [sic] and tight urban site with a four
storey vertical solution, utilising rooftop playdecks, all contained
around a careful and considered plan form embracing the views across to
the west window of the Grade 1 listed Church of St George’s.'
Interestingly, according to a speech by Ann
Coffey MP in Parliament in 2008, an earlier plan was to demolish
the building to create a playing field for the existing school.
Several local residents (judging by the protest placards on their
houses) feel that the proposed new building will be visually obtrusive,
and, along with the proposed flats, and create traffic problems, while
Society objects strongly to any demolition. The whole group
of buildings is part of the St George's Conservation Area, although the
vicarage itself is almost invisible to passers-by, apparently one of
the reasons why the vicar wanted to leave, as he felt insecure and at
risk from vandal attack.
Frederick Davenport Bates, 1867-1943
A new feature in our History section tells
the story of Frederick Bates, who lived and worked in Mile End Lane for
many years after training as a painter in Paris and Antwerp, and
adopted 'Davenport' as a middle name to distinguish him from other
artists of a similar name. He is forgotten in Stockport today, but one
of his pictures sold at Christie's in 2008 for £49,250.
Steam through Davenport
'The Buxton Spa Express', a steam-hauled excursion from Lancaster to
Buxton, picking up at Manchester Victoria, is planned to run on
Saturday 5 November, scheduled to pass Stockport at 10:20, and
Davenport a couple of minutes later, running via Whaley Bridge to
Buxton (11:20). The return train departs Buxton at 14:03 but will not
pass Davenport as it runs via Peak Forest and Sheffield before making a
circuitous route to Manchester Victoria, arriving 19:26. It should be
double-headed by two 'Black Five' locomotives. For booking details,
etc. visit the Railway
15 October 2011
Vote for Cale Green Park
Cale Green Park Residents' Association have applied to the Natwest
Community Force project for funs to re-instate the circle of benches
which once existed in Cale Green Park. To register and vote, go to the Community Force
Class 180 troubles - and 'new' trains to come
The three five-coach Class 180 trains in the Northern Rail fleet, which
have become familiar sight on the 09:37 and 16:35 trains from
Davenport, have not been seen in the week beginning 12 September: all
three are out of traffic awaiting or undergoing repairs / maintenance.
They will be transferred away from Northern at the December timetable
change, if current plans by the Department for Transport come to
fruition, replaced by an assortment of old stock moved from other
companies. London Midland are getting brand-new trains for Birmingham
area services, and we will be getting some of the 24-year-old Class 150
units that they replace, along with some of the little four-wheeled
'Pacer' trains that have been in use with First Great Western. The
result will be a much-needed small increase in the size of the Northern
Rail fleet, although unfortunately it has also been decided by the 'Fat
Controllers' in London to transfer away to the East Midlands four of
the Class 156 units, the ones with the wider seats and tables.
- 16 September 2011
No more station staff?
There has been a wave of publicity in recent weeks for a campaign by
railway trade union TSSA against a proposal in the May 2011 'Value for
Money' report to the (English) Government prepared by an 'independent'
team chaired by Sir Roy McNulty. It is suggested that 'Category E'
stations should all lose their station staff, all tickets presumably
being issued on-line and by station machines. The report itself does
not list these stations, which are defined by Network Rail as having
less than 250,000 passengers per year and annual ticket office revenue
of less than a million pounds. However, a list can be found elsewhere,
and can be found on the 'Together
Transport' website. It includes Davenport along with all most all
Northern Rail stations in this area, including Buxton and all the ones
on our branch line - except Hazel Grove - and many others around
England and Wales.
Needless to say, we at the Davenport Station website, along with many
other users, strongly disapprove of this proposal. A helpful and
friendly person like Ken (and Tony before him) is an essential feature
of our community. There are many ways in which the railway throws money
down the drain, such as the fiasco of the Stockport re-signalling in
which millions of pounds-worth of work was done, with trains cancelled
for months at a time, and then undone, the expensive preparations for
Eurostar services which never materialised, and the creation of
'Platform zero' at Stockport which is nothing more than an
inconvenience to passengers and a waste of station staff time. Not to
mention the huge salaries being paid to senior railway managers,
compared to the small amounts paid to our station staff who are the
public face of the railway. We would suggest that if you agree with
this, then you should make you feelings felt to local politicians such
as Ann Coffey M P (email: email@example.com),
Some crazy ideas in section 19 of the full report (3
file) for reducing costs of rolling stock include running
services with 'second-hand trains or trams' from the continent, and
reducing weight of trains when they a refurbished by 'removing powered
doors' and installing lower-powered engines... when the current trains
struggle to reach Buxton with the engines they have.
All signalling could, they say, be removed from (presumably)
passenger-only branch lines, trains driven 'on-sight' like a road
vehicle or tram, and fitted with magnetic track brakes so they can stop
quickly when required. Less crazy is the idea that some quieter lines
could be worked without lineside signals on the basis a 'dispatcher' at
a central point keeps track of where trains are and simply tells
drivers over a secure mobile phone line that the line is clear up to a
stated passing loop or other point. This idea works well in some other
countries, but what is actually happening now is that £60 million
(probably much more) has been spent on installing a greatly
over-complicated Euro-system to do the same thing (not very well so
far) on the Cambrian lines to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli.
Who is Sir Roy McNulty? According to a press
Sir Roy McNulty seemingly has no
interest in putting his feet up. The 70-year-old father of three has
been the £90,000-a-year, three-day-a-week chairman of the Civil
Aviation Authority since 2001. He divides his week between regulating
Britain’s crowded airspace and helping to deliver the 2012 London
Olympic Games in his other role as deputy chairman of the Olympic
Currently he his chairman of regional development agency Advantage West
Midlands which pays £80,510 p.a. for a time commitment of three
days a week.
TransPennine Strike - off
The TransPennine strike planned for Friday 26 August has now been
suspended, and TransPennine 'will endeavour to run services as normal.'
26 August 2011
It was good to hear that a number of people from Davenport travellied
into Manchester with their brooms, etc. on 10 August to help with the
clean-up operations after the events of the day before. Well done to
The Reinbek story
Our latest local history article, The Reinbek
Story, looks at the early days of the house which is now 'Reinbek'
care home on Bramhall Lane, and the life and work people who lived
there during its short life as a family home, and attempts to uncover
the origin of its unusual name.
3 August 2011
Davenport to Chinley
We hear that from the December 2011 timetable change, the 17:23
Manchester Piccadilly to Hazel Grove train, popular with many Davenport
commuters, is to be extended beyond Hazel Grove, up on to the Sheffield
line to terminate at Chinley and provide an extra evening service for
commuters there. An interesting idea: trains calling at both Davenport
and Chinley have been rare over the years since the connection at Hazel
Grove opened in the 1980s.
Let us hope that Northern Rail are always able to provide four coaches,
as this train already gets very crowded on the not-infrequent days when
only two are available.
3 August 2011
Metrolink goes to France
'Stagecoach Group plc yesterday [1 August] completed the sale of its
subsidiary, Stagecoach Metrolink Limited to Ratp Dev UK Limited,
a wholly owned subsidiary of Ratp Développement.' - press release
RATP is the operator of the Paris Métro, as well as other
transport undertakings around Europe.
Well done to the people at 'SK Solutions' for respecting the
Conservation Area by refurbishing this old cast-iron sign rather than
replacing it with a modern version. It's an example of the type of
cast-iron sign introduced in Stockport in approximately 1890. This
design replaced the iron version with smaller lettering which happily
still can be seen on many older Stockport streets, but nowhere in
Davenport south of Kennerley Road / Garners Lane, as this area only
joined Stockport in 1901. After World War I the design changed to a
more modern lettering style which can be found in the Woodsmoor area,
and since 1947 to the flat plates with 'Kindersley' serif-style
lettering which are still used today, with the addition from sometime
around 2008 of a representation of the Stockport town crest.
Have you ever wondered how Frewland Avenue got its rather odd name? The
Land Registry entries for the oldest houses on the Avenue reveal that
the land on which they was sold in 1904 by Hugh Archibald Christy; at
the time the Christy family had left Highfield House and its
estate for more rural homes elsewhere in Britain. The buyer was a
John Frew. Who was he?
Good question! He does not seem to have been a Stockport man, and he
still owned 29 and 31 Frewland at the time they were sold in 1919-1920,
but which of the various John Frews in the census records he might have
been eludes us at the moment; telephone directories from 1911 show a
Manchester silk manufacturing company called John Frew and Sons, which
may be a connection.
Train of Hope auction latest
Readers might like to know that the 'Train of Hope' team of Virgin
Trains drivers, raising money for the Clic Sargent children's cancer
care charity, have the following for auction on eBay from 13
Tour: A Charity Auction Unique Tour for
four people of Manchester Piccadilly signalling centre;
Connect: A Cab Ride and Train Driver
simulation: Unique Opportunity For two People;
Neville Hill Depot Leeds
Exclusive Tour. Unique Tour For four People - A One-off Railway
Virgin Trains Exclusive
Pendolino Driver Simulator Day Includes First Class Travel &
Hotel Accommodation For two.
Train of Hope eBay link for the chance to bid.
There is also a charity 'fun' event at Stockport
station on Sunday 17 July, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Platform 3, The
Conference Room, including a display by Romiley Methodist Railway
Modellers, Manchester Locomotive Society, Notch 8 DVDs and Books, a New
& Used Stall, S & J Models (Northwich) and a Virgin Class 57
Thunderbird loco in attendance (Subject to Availability).
A Grand Charity Raffle with prizes including :- 1st Class Virgin
Tickets ,Northern Rail Day Tickets, DB Schenker N Gauge Locomotive,
New Metrolink line
A new branch of the Metrolink tram system, from Trafford Bar to
Firstwood, Chorlton and St Werburgh's Road, opened on 7 July. The
services run to and from Victoria, so the best way to reach the new
line from Davenport is to catch one of the trains which run through
towards Bolton, and change at Deansgate. The Chorlton stop (above) is
immediately adjacent to the Morrison supermarket, with step-free
8 July 2011
James Patchell Chettle, 1871-1944
James Patchell Chettle, who lived for over twenty years in Davenport
Park, was a gifted landscape painter as well as the managing director
a cotton goods merchant. We have a new page
work in our 'history' section.
8 July 2011.
Train of Hope news
The 'Train of Hope' team of Virgin Trains drivers have placed another
batch of interesting things on eBay as part of the fund-raising for the
Clic Sargent children's cancer charity. These auctions end on 3 July.
A day on the TransPennine Express
Class 185 simulator at York or Manchester, suitable for up to ten
A Visit for 6 people to Rugby Signalling Centre;
A Virgin Trains prototype Voyager Nose Shield;
A Tour of Alstom Longsight depot for 4 people;
A Terence Cuneo framed print of the 'Caerphilly and Vole-Tail Railway'
As well as some aviation-related items. Visit the Train of Hope eBay
page or www.trainofhope.co.uk
where you can make a donation or find out more about the 'Train of
Hope' itself which runs in October 2011.
27 June 2011
The fishing lake, Chudleigh Close, May 2011. Once
work for three Sundays
Trains through Davenport will be affected by engineering work requiring
replacement buses for part of the day on Sundays 26 June, 3 July and 10
July. The Northern
website includes the full information. Note that each of the
Sundays has a different arrangement. Additionally, the last trains on
each direction will be replaced by a bus between Stockport and Buxton
on Monday - Thursday 27-30 June.
On several occasions since they took over the franchise, we have
pointed out to Northern Rail that there was no information at Davenport
station as to where to board replacement buses when they are running
and the station is not staffed. Finally, a few weeks ago, new notice
boards appeared and one of them does confirm that the stops used are
the one at Cale Green Park gates for buses towards Stockport, and
across the road by the green for those heading for Hazel Grove.
Woodsmoor passengers have to use the stops on Bramhall Lane near the
Woodsmoor Lane roundabout; some people will perhaps find it just as
quick to walk to Davenport via the footpath from Edmonton Road to the
We'd be interested to hear from anyone who uses these buses about any
The 17:23 Manchester - Hazel Grove rolls into Platform
Zero at Stockport on 11 May, unusually formed of a Class 150 unit
coupled to a Class 142. The train is 25 years old, the
signalbox about 125...
Train of Hope Auction
Latest item on the 'Train of Hope' auction for children's charity Clic
Sargent is a set of four day travel vouchers donated by Northern Rail.
These are each valid for day's travel anywhere on the Northern Rail
network, valid until December 2012. The eBay auction runs until 29 May:
The 'Train of Hope' is a special train to be steam-hauled from Crewe to
to Carlisle and back on October 1st. See full details.
area, supporting Clic Sargent which is Virgin's chosen charity this
22 May 2010
The future of the Mirrlees factory site
MAN Diesel, successor to the Mirrlees company, has moved all their
production to the Far East, and is now proposing to the Council that
the factory site be further developed to include some business units
and up to 240 homes. The proposal would retain the current open space,
which used to be the golf course and sports fields, and the
right-of-way alongside, but there have to be concerns about the effect
on such a development on the area.
The Mirrlees Fields Action Group has responded to the consultation, and
its letter, as well as plans of the proposed development, can be found
Reading the Transport Plan attached to the application, we read that
'There is a public footpath along the north-east boundary of the site
between Mirrlees Drive and Woodsmoor Rail station. As part of previous
planning consents, the applicant made financial contributions totalling
£82,000 to fund the upgrade/encancement of this footpath. Such
improvements are understood to comprise the introduction [of] a
continuous tarmacadam surface and lighting.'
What has happened so far is that part of the path has been re-surfaced
using stone aggregate, and certainly no lighting has been installed.
Why not, we wonder?
New local history page
A new local history article, based on an
old postcard of Bramhall Lane South, is now available. Comments are
Looking through a box of old papers I found a cutting from the Wall
Street Journal that someone gave me in 1992, in which an American
journalist meets some British train spottere, including one of our own
Stockport personalities, Mr Thorley. I've transcribed
page, as I think it worth preserving.
Cale Green Park Farmer's Market
Because it was such a big success
last year, the Cale Green Park Residents' Association is once again
organizing an Easter Monday Farmers' Market & Fun Day. In addition
to the usual stalls, there'll also be an Easter Egg Hunt, and probably
some clog dancers, a magic show and a choir. Cale Green Park,
Monday 25 April 2011, 11am to 3pm.
The North Eastern Express
Seats are still available on the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association's
next excursion, the 'North Eastern Express' on 7 May, which calls at
Stockport (and Reddish South!) and goes to Darlington, Durham and
Newcastle. Full details and booking information on the MCRUA website.
What's in a name?
The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has changed its
name to the tongue-twisting 'Transport for Greater Manchester' and its
web address to www.tfgm.com.
not just 'public' transport.
they don't spend too much of our
money on changing signs.
Metrolink timetable changed
Yes, Metrolink does have a timetable, they just never publish it. But
thanks to our friends at the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association, we
can tell you that from Monday 4 April an 'experimental' shuttle service
should have been introduced between Piccadilly Station and Media
CityUK. This never happened, but the timetable changes for other lines
did take place.
From Piccadilly Station the standard pattern of weekday daytime
departures, in minutes past the hour, is: Altrincham 01, 13, 25, 37,
49. Eccles 08, 20, 32,
44, 56. Bury 10, 22, 34, 46, 58.
For more info, enter your planned journey at www.traveline-northwest.co.uk.
Updated 20 April 2011.
Sign of the times?
It's good to see that the station name sign which had been used by
miscreants as target practice has now been replaced: hopefully the CCTV
system will prevent any further abuse. Typography fans will notice that
the new sign (above) has the name slightly larger and in a different
typeface than the originals (below). The original 'Northern' signs used
a rather modern style of font - the 'a' and 't', for example,
noticeably different from the new version which appears to be a
Helvetica-style one as found on anyone's computer. Saving money on the
font licence, perhaps?
18 April 2011
Unusual steam visit, Saturday 2 April
Davenport station will see the passage of an unusual steam locomotive
on the evening of Saturday 2 April, in the form of Southern Railway
'Battle of Britain' class pacific 34067 Tangmere, hauling an excursion
returning from Chester to Cleethorpes via Manchester Victoria,
Stockport and the Hope Valley line. The train is scheduled to stop at
Denton station to replenish its water supply from 17:50 to 18:47, and
pass through Stockport 18:57 and Hazel Grove 19:03.
Here's a picture by John Beresford
(from our North Wales Coast Railway
website) of the loco at Crewe on a recent test run. For the full
timings of Saturday's train see the uksteam.info
30 March 2011
'Bullet Train' problems
Northern Rail have three five-coach 'Class 180' trains on hire at
present, two of which are required for daily duty. Unfortunately, two
of these are currently out of use, one having suffered a mechanical
failure and the other a mishap within Newton Heath depot, leaving only
180 106 available. However, this survivor remains in use on the
scheduled run between Preston and Hazel Grove, including the 09:37 and
16:35 from Davenport to Preston and the 15:16 return from Manchester
The plan is that these trains will depart from our area in May 2011,
but this depends on various other transfers of stock between companies,
which in turn depend on the delivery of the brand new trains which are
going to the London Midland Company for use in the Birmingham area, and
may yet not occur.
Concession fare changes from 3 April
To save money in this world of cuts, the Greater Manchester Passenger
Transport Authority is tightening up on some fare concessions from 3
April. The half-fare for over-60s (and some disabled pass holders)
travelling on buses and trains before 09:30 Monday-Friday is abolished,
and full fare (which on trains is much higher than the off-peak fare)
will be required. This change is understandable, as many people over 60
are still travelling at this time for work purposes. Even so, they
(we!) will still be able to travel free in the evening peak.
Under-16s will also find they have to pay half-fare on buses rather
than the flat 80p rate. For full details see
Like other operators, Stagecoach will be increasing most of thir bus
fares from the same day. They have produced a leaflet which can be
downloaded as a PDF explaining the changes. The Adult Dayrider, available from the
bus driver will cost £3.70, with a new 'Junior version for
under-16s at £2.70). Ordinary adult single fares will increase by
10p, making the single bus fare from Davenport station to Stockport bus
station £1.70; from stops beyond the station, such as Clutha Road
or Midland Road, the fare to Stockport will be an incredible
£2.00 each way, making a return journey for the short distance to
Stockport more expensive than a Dayrider ... which would also cover a
return trip to Littleborough! One drawback though is that you can only
use Stagecoach buses, which rules out returning on Bakerbus-operated
route 372 or the late-night runs on routes 374 and 378 which are now
contracted by GMPTE to small Levenshulme-based outfit 'M Travel'
who submitted a much lower tender for the required subsidy. Davenport
to Bramhall is also now £2.00 single.
Our advice: go by train! Off-peak returns on the train are much cheaper than by bus and there
is a free Metroshuttle bus service (itself now operated by Stagecoach)
in shopping hours from Stockport station to points in the
Interestingly, Stagecoach buses now have their complete
download as a PDF.
Another change for bus travellers: Over-60 and other concessionary
passengers on Stagecoach buses are now expected to place their
(existing) picture card on the ticket machine's smart-card reader when
boarding the bus: see Stagecoach's
page for more.
Castlefield Curve = Ordsall Chord
GMPTE news release reports:
Funding to pave the way for major
rail improvements in and around Greater Manchester has been welcomed by
the region's transport leaders. The Chancellor announced in today's [23
March] Budget that £85m has been allocated to plans that could
see a new rail line, known as the Ordsall Chord, linking Victoria and
Piccadilly stations as part of the Northern Hub.
This would allow for new connectivity for local and intercity services
across Greater Manchester, potentially also linking via Salford Central
and Oxford Road. Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority
(GMITA) welcomed the announcement as a first step towards the Northern
Hub, a proposed programme of improvements to rail capacity and
infrastructure around Greater Manchester that would benefit the north
as a whole.
This proposal was first made many years ago as an alternative to the
underground 'Picc-Vic' connection which sadly failed to receive
Government funding at the end of the 1970s. Then called the Castlefield
Curve, it is apparently now to be known as the Ordsall Chord.
The idea is that trains from the Leeds direction to Manchester Airport,
which currently have to cross all the other lines at Ardwick and then
reverse in Manchester Piccadilly station, will revert to the older
route from Stalybridge down into Manchester Victoria station and then
continue past Salford Central station and turn left on to the new curve
which will take them on to the existing Salford Crescent - Deansgate
line to reach Oxford Road and Piccadilly before continuing direct to
the airport. The disadvantage of this is that more trains would be
funnelled along the congested Deansgate - Piccadilly section; there are
ideas to add extra tracks, and build extra platforms at Piccadilly, but
these are yet to receive any sort of funding approval. Perhaps the
Scarborough Leeds - Liverpool trains might in future return to the
Manchester Victoria - Newton-le-Willows axis rather than serving
Piccadilly and Warrington Central as at present.
The new line would appear to cut across the rail link into the Museum
of Science and Industry, although some published plans shown that by
using a sharp enough radius for the curve this will not be necessary.
blog has an interesting article about the proposals.
30 March 2011
We record for posterity that two of our three Stockport councillors,
David White and Roy Driver, have now resigned from the Liberal Democrat
party and are now supporting the Labour group on the council, leaving
just Ann White as a Liberal Democrat. David White is therefore, we
assume, no longer the Executive Member for Transport.
As we understand things, it is Mr Driver's current seat which is to be
decided in the 5 May 2011 election.
28 March 2011
Calling all cyclists
If you ride a bicycle around the local area, please take a look at our
11 March 2011
What's in a name
Some may have spotted an additional legend 'a serco and abellio joint
venture' appearing on trains, below the 'Northern' logo. This doesn't
represent any change in the ownership of the company, it is still a
partnership between multi-national jack-of-all-trades Serco and the
Netherlands' state-owned national railway, but the latter has recently
decided to call its foreign ventures by the meaningless name 'abellio.'
Notice the very small Nederlandse Spoorwegen symbol just after the 'o'.
Last year the franchise period, which was originally from December 2004
until September 2011, has been extended by the Government until
September 2013 as a reward for their good performance.
Steam through Davenport (Revised)
The next steam excursion which will be passing through Davenport is the
Railway Touring Company's 'Buxton
Express' on Saturday 26 February. The timing of the train has
changed from that previously notified. This train starts at Lancaster,
runs via Manchester Victoria (09:22 - 09:46), Stockport (Pass 10:19), through Davenport non-stop about 10:22
to Buxton (arr 11:20). It will depart Buxton 13:20 and run via
Peak Forest, Sheffield and Wakefield to Manchester Victoria (18:26) and
Lancaster. Planned locomotives are 'Jubilee'
5690 Leander and 'Black 5'
4-6-0 44871 which will double-head the train.
21 February 2011
Coach House Community Café
Stockport Progress and Recovery Centre (SPARC), based on the Heathfield
in Cale Green, has opened a 'community café' in the old coach
house, reached by the gateway on Bramhall Lane opposite St George's
Church. Opening days are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 11 am until 2pm.
We read that 'The aim is to give positive opportunities and experience
to interested members in a catering environment, and to enable people
to develop skills and achievements through accredited training
programmes. This could lead to future employment for any volunteers who
may be interested in taking this pathway. The café space is set
within an old Victorian coach house, so in keeping with the Victoriana
theme we offer table service; serving our unique speciality cream teas
amongst other things.'
Stockport Progress And Recovery Centre, formerly Stockport Day Centre,
is a local voluntary
organisation providing support for adults in the Stockport area who
suffer from mental health problems. Their website
has full information.
Yes, the information screens on both platforms are working again, after
an extraordinary time (several months) taken to repair them
satisfactorily. It seems that there has been a problem obtaining
replacement circuit boards from the supplier in Ireland.
Passengers to Hindlow (from Salisbury)
The latest Pathfinder Tours programme includes an excursion from the
Salisbury area to Buxton and the Peak District, 'The Peak District
Explorer' on 4 June 2011, with options including a coach tour and
'travelling the Hindlow branchline' - this being the first time in a
number of years that any passenger train has ventured up the freight
line to Hindlow.
The train will depart from Buxton Depart around 13:15 (return 14:40)
for a Class 66 hauled trip over this branchline to a stone quarry deep
in the Peak District. There is said to be a limited number of Standard
seats for Buxton joiners, but the booking
website seems to be saying they are already sold.
Wouldn't it be nice if the occasional 'ordinary' train could run up
there on Sundays to connect with the High Peak Trail walking and
28 January 2011
The above example of the work of 'Solutions SK' was spotted recently at
Rostrevor Road, Davenport ...
it disappeared again after being reported on the council's on-line
form. While this is clearly a blunder (as would have been noticed
immediately had the installers looked at the sign on the other side of
the road), the area also has some street names which appear to be
'official errors.' For example, in the estate with all roads named
after places on the Isle of Skye, 'Portrea Close' would look strange to
residents of the island's capital, Portree, and anyone who's read
The Da Vinci Code might
think that 'Roslyn Road' should be 'Rosslyn Road.' However, both these
names are the actual names of the streets. Does anyone know why a group
of names beginning 'Ros' were used?
Winter sunset over Davenport.