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information from Northern
Booking Offices saved
So - the project to close almost every ticket office in
England has been 'dropped' by the Government after about
750,000 people protesting about it in a
consultation exercise. The response letter sent by
our (Government owned) Northern Trains management
to the 'Transport Focus' watchdog listing all the
problems it would cause; you can read
a copy here
. It is clear that the Company were
very much against the idea, at least at this time.
However, this does not mean that small stations like
ours may not be targeted for closure if their income
declines. At present there is a serious issue
created by Northern's 'advance purchase' scheme which
offers cheaper tickets on local journeys, and can be
bought at our station even on the day of travel. At
present, these are available on-line or from the ticket
machine but not from the booking office, with the result
that staff are advising passengers against buying from
the office. This needs to be changed. Let's use
the office as much as possible!
22 November 2023
Access for All - but when?
As we reported in an item below
, in April
2022 a submission was been made by Transport for Greater
Manchester to the Government under the 'Access for All'
scheme to improve access at 18 stations, including
Davenport and Woodsmoor.
We were told that a decision would be made by 'Spring
2023', then it was delayed to 'Autumn 2023', and
still no decision as been made - it seems to have been
shelved. It's time to ask our MP to find out
what's happening. Perhaps they are busy with the
cancellation of HS2?
22 November 2023
Calling over 55s
A Northern ticket which gets little advertising is the
'Northern Explorer 55' which ofers anyone aged over 55
can roam all around the western side of the Company's
network, on any day, although only after 9.30 on
Mondays-Fridays, using Northern Trains only. (You need
to carry proof of age.) There's information and a map on
. Price is £17.50 - no railcard discounts.
22 November 2023
Contractors for Network Rail will be installing new
track, new signals and other signalling equipment along
the railway line near to Davenport, Woodsmoor and Hazel
Grove stations. Work will take place throughout the day
and night from:
00:40 Saturday 9th September to 05:00 Monday 11th
Rail Replacement buses will be available for late night
trains on Saturday. Sunday will have buses all day
between Stockport and Buxton, the Sunday bus timetable
The car park
at Davenport, and part of the car
park at Hazel Grove, will be closed from 6th - 11th
September to deliver and store materials and
equpment needed for the work.
As this work is done, residents may hear noise from
heavy construction m
Machinery and running engines, train movements with
noise from engines and train horns, excavation and
drilling, and noise from dropping metal rails into place
on the track. You may also notice an increase in
lighting in the area.
Network Rail say "We'll be working hard with our
contractor to reduce noise as much as possible, but are
very sorry for any disruption that the work may cause.
Our team will always be mindful of the impact our work
may have on you and we have briefed our teams to work
The work (as we understand it) involves changes to the
signalling to allow the Hope Valley non-stop trains to
travel faster along this section, by dividing the
section between Davenport and Hazel Grove into two. This
will increase the capacity of the line, because
only one train is allowed in a section. Installation of
a signal at Woodsmoor, and improvements in the working
of the Woodsmoor level crossing (which is controlled
from Edgeley Junction No.1 signalbox, will hopefully
reduce waiting times for pedestrians and vehicles.
The current arrangement was designed when it was
thought that there would not be a level crossing
there, but just a footbridge when the line was
electrified. However, local people took
exception to the 'monster' signalbox which was
erected, and after a long battle it was taken away and
replaced by the a leve' crossing, but the signalling
27 August 2023
Booking offices under threat
We reproduce below the letter sent by Northern Trains
to stakeholders, including Friends Group. The
Department of Transport, who now own Northern and some
other English passenger companies, have decided than
the railways are cost too much to run and, and closing
station booking offices would save money now that many
people have 'smart phones'. A public
consultation is under way, and everyone is invited to
send their comments to the Transport Focus
organisation at this email address:
or by freepost at RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus, PO
Box 5594, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 9PZ.
We at the Friends Group would also like to hear your
reaction to this: our email is
A new approach to retail operations at Northern
Across all business sectors the way customers
consume, access and purchase products and services
is changing. Northern is no different and we need to
modernise our customer propositions to respond to
their changing needs. Northern is transforming how
it operates its stations to enable our colleagues to
be more empowered, visible and accessible when
needed the most.
Alongside other train companies, we are today
launching a public consultation on our proposals.
Northern currently manages 467 stations, of which
318 are unstaffed. Of the remaining 149 staffed
locations, Northern is proposing to close 131 ticket
offices and amend the operating hours at 18 ticket
It is Northern’s intention to close the 131 ticket
office locations in a phased approach over an
18-month period, following receipt of approval to
implement the changes. Upon such time that Northern
commences closure of ticket offices, we will
undertake regular reviews to assess the change
through customer and employee surveys. A copy of the
public consultation document accompanies this
letter, setting out full details of our proposals.
Customer purchasing behaviour
Our customers’ expectations for how they plan and
make their journeys has changed. For buying tickets,
digital is now the dominant channel in line with
other industries, driven by changes in consumer
demand towards ease and convenience. Only 1 in 6
journeys on Northern services are bought through a
ticket office, compared with almost half of all
journeys in 2018. This highlights that the customer
requirement for ticket offices as a retail channel
is rapidly diminishing, a trend that is expected to
To meet the opportunities of a developing railway
and the expectations of an evolving customer base,
and to ensure the most efficient use of public
money, we need to do things differently. The
low level of demand for the ticket office means that
the continued use ofprimarily ticket selling roles
is both financially inefficient and does not deliver
the optimumexperience for many of our customers.
As a result of these drivers the traditional behind
the glass ticket offices are not what are needed for
today’s railway, and we are proposing a new
approach. Instead, customers tell us that they want
our colleagues to be enabled to directly engage,
support and help in a whole variety of ways.
Therefore, Northern will be deploying knowledgeable,
visible and empowered colleagues to support
customers where needed most. We are calling these
colleagues Journey Makers.
It is our proposal that ticket offices at 131 of our
stations will close. 18 will remain open with
amended opening hours. The below sets out a summary
of Northern’s proposition on stations impacted by
• Station colleagues will be more visible around
the station to help customers with a wider range of
help and support.
This change allows our colleagues to better use their
skills and knowledge and is the right way to make
every customer’s journey the best possible one. We
will now be commencing a period of consultation with
our colleagues and the public on this national
• We operate 318 stations without ticket offices.
Our proposals mean that ticket offices at a further
131 stations will close. We will also reduce the
number of hours that Northern colleagues are present
at these stations. This will be kept under review
and may change in the future depending on customer
• Conductors will continue to be on every train who
already disembark at every station.
• All stations have at least one Ticket Vending
• Most of our tickets will be available from our
station machines and on apps and via the web.
• At a national level there are plans for Ticket
Vending Machines to sell additional ticket products
that are not currently available via machines, and
offer barcode ticket printing.
• For those who want to pay with cash or do not have
access to the internet or have a smart phone,
customers will be able to buy tickets at local
retail outlets. This will be rolled-out over 12
months to thousands of locations.
• We plan to introduce more Video Assist across
Ticket Vending Machines following a recent trial.
Customers can see and talk to one of our experts who
can help with buying the best ticket.
• Facilities such as CCTV, help points, waiting
areas and lifts will not be affected.
• All stations have LED lighting.
• 130 of the 131 of the locations at which we are
proposing to close ticket offices have CCTV and we
plan to put it in at the remaining one.
There is a more detailed document which
can be downoaded here.
08 July 2023
'Action short of strike'
Northern Trains say: ' There is action short of
planned for 3 - 8 July, which will affect
some services. 'We expect some services to start later
and finish earlier than usual, as well as short-notice
cancellations. Please check before you travel as
journeys may be altered or removed on the day of
All - delayed
In April 2022 a submission was been made by Transport
for Greater Manchester to the Government under the
'Access for All' scheme to improve access at 18
stations, including Davenport and Woodsmoor. For
Davenport this would provide lifts between the street
and both platforms, requiring involve the removal of
the stairs by the booking office, and the excavation
of the area between the stairs and bridge on the other
We were told that a decision would be made by 'Spring
2023', but this has now delayed to 'Autumn 2023'.
01 June 2023
Hope Valley upgrade
Network Rail have a project to improve the speed and
capacity of the Hope Valley line to Sheffield. Hazel
Grove, Woodsmoor and Davenport are now counted as
Hope Valley stations by Network Rail, and a small part
of the overall plan is to increase the speed limit for
trains between Hazel Grove and Stockport. which is
currently 40 mph between Hazel Grove and the curve
leading to the junction with the the Crewe line.
This would appear to be difficult to achieve even by an
express train, given the short distance before the
junctions, but they seem to think that saving a couple
of minutes is worth while. You'll notice gangs of
orange men working around the signals; higher speed
means that the signals have to be farther apart. It
seems they are also re-laying some of the track - we
haven't been given full information.
15 April 2023
Rover and Ranger tickets...
... are now available from the ticket machine as
well as the ticket office, including day passes
such as the Wayfarer and the Cheshire Day Ranger.
There is a full list with details on the National
15 April 2023
Bridge work at Whaley
Between Saturday 18 and Monday 27 February 2023, Network
Rail are undertaking major work on the Grade 2 listed
bridge which carries the railway across Buxton Road at
Whaley Bridge. There will be no trains between Hazel
Grove and Buxton, with replacement buses except at
Whaley Bridge where the car park will be closed for use
by the engineers. The road under the bridge is
Interestingly, Northern have agreed with the local bus
company for Whaley Bridge ticket holders to travel free
on some of the local bus services, which are diverting
via the by-pass, although they don't run on Sundays, and
the Stockport - Buxton 199 service is not included.
There is a free daily Shuttle Bus running between the
two ends of Whaley by a very long route.
It would seem that running trains beyond Hazel Grove to
Furness Vale, where there is a crossover, is no longer
considered. Full info:
On Saturday 28th
January all trains through Stockport will be replaced by
buses except a half-hourly shuttle from platform 3a to
and from Manchester. Trains will be running between
Hazel Grove and Buxton. Buses will call at the
stops by Cale Green Park gates or the one at Davenport
Park entrance. On Sunday there are no trains at all at
Stockport, every line will be 'bustituted' but Hazel
Grove - Buxton trains will operate. Check with
Northern's website for times and details and possible
changes. 1st and 3rd February are strike days - no
Northern trains will run.
and 4th may be affected as well.
A timetable for 28-29 January can
be found here
. There are some very long waits
between trains and buses - half an hour at Stockport
between terminating trains from Manchester to bus
departures on Saturday.
25 January 2023
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