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News Archive for 2010

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Stop press strike news 27 December: the 10:08 train from Davenport to Manchester did run as per the contigency timetable, so presumably the contingency timetable applies on 27 / 28 December and there will be trains at (only) 13:08 and 15:08 to Manchester with returns from Manchester Piccadilly at 10:52 (11:09 Davenport - Buxton not calling at Middlewood or Dove Holes) 13:52 (terminating at Hazel Grove) and 15:52 (16:09 from Davenport all stations to Buxton). Check the Live Departures and click 'details' before travelling if you can to see if 'Act' appears by the times from the starting station. Unfortunately the normal service of trains has not been fully removed from the database, and trains are most misleadingly shown as 'expected on time' but will not show with 'Actual' times.

Ghost Trains

Northern Rail have put up posters at the station about the 27-28 December conductor's strikes (see below) from which it would appear that no trains will run on the Buxton line on those days.

However, on their website there is a contingency timetable suggesting that on each day three trains each will serve Davenport in each direction.  Which is correct? Who knows?

Note that this is a Northern Rail dispute: other train companies are running to their advertised Chrsitmas period timetables on 27 & 28 December.

Further information: The buses that were planned to operate between Sheffield and Chinley calling at local stations (except Edale), due to engineering work will now operate between Sheffield and Stockport, running non-stop between Chinley and Stockport.

For customers travelling between Altrincham and Manchester, rail tickets valid for travel between Altrincham and Manchester Piccadilly will be accepted for travel on Metrolink tram services between Altrincham and Manchester Central Zone on 27 and 28 December.

26 December 2010

Happy Christmas to all our readers

As usual there will be no trains running on our line, nor on most others, on 25 and 26 December, and on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve services will stop running earlier than usual. As far as we can tell, the last trains from Davenport on 24 December will be the 21:08 to Manchester and the 20:09 to Buxton (19:52 from Manchester) but do check for yourself before travelling. Metrolink trams will also be finishing early on 24 December, with the last trams from the City Centre leaving about 20:45. (GMPTE leaflet - PDF)

Stageoach buses will be running their 'holiday service' and will also be going to bed early on Christmas Eve - see their website for details. No buses on Christmas Day and not many the next day, although the 192 bus along the A6 to Manchester will run on Boxing Day 26 December, every 10 minutes from about 08:30 until 18:00. Metrolink trams will also be running on 26 December, until about 19:00.

See item below about 27 and 28 December.
21 December 2010

Strikes loom

A failure to agree the appropriate pay rates for 'replacement holidays' has led to a planned strike by Northern Rail Conductors on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December. There will be no replacement buses provided.

The following letter to staff from the Northern Managing Director comes courtesy of Wonkyleaks -

Dear all,

We have had the ballot result through from the RMT and although only a minority of conductors voted for strike action  ... we have seen an RMT media statement that says a strike will go ahead and it will take place on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December. The full result of the ballot was that of the 976 conductors who are members of the RMT, 361 voted for strike action, 240 voted against strike action and 375 abstained.

I am very disappointed that the union has said strike action will go ahead even though only about one-third of balloted employees voted for it. The RMT balloted for strike action over Bank Holiday terms and conditions, even though the union agreed to those terms and conditions several years ago.

We have said all along that we will honour the existing agreements that we have with our trade union partners, and we are always willing to hold further talks.

Our priority now must be to ensure that our passengers have all the information they need to make an informed decision about their travel plans on 27 and 28 December. We have a detailed contingency plan to operate as many services as possible and to provide good customer service for those passengers who can travel.

Kind regards, Ian Bevan, Managing Director.
21 December 2010

More snow

Buxton line trains are running well on 18 December, but delays are occurring on Preston - Hazel Grove services. Check the Live Departures for up-to-date info. Note - if you select 'details' for tour train you can check the 'actual' (shown as act) departure times as recorded at Buxton, Furness Vale and Hazel Grove and Manchester, as opposed to the expected (exp) ones.

New timetable

A new timetable comes into force nationally from 12 December 2010. There appear to be few changes to Davenport times except that departures towards Manchester revert to their slightly later non-leaf-fall times, but do check your planned journeys.

It appears that the Class 180 'bullet' trains are remaining with Northern Rail for the time being, as nothing has been scrounged from other companies to replace them.
10 December 2010

In the Snow

Thanks are due to all the local rail staff for keeping our service running so well over the recent snowy weather: most trains, especially those from Buxton where train staff must have had great trouble getting to work, have run as planned, with delays largely confined to the trains coming from Preston to Hazel Grove through the congested junctions north of Manchester.
3 December 2010

Christmas Music

The Advent season sees a musical event at St George's Church on the corner of Bramhall Lane and Buxton Road. 11 December at 8pm there is 'Carols by Candlelight' featuring the Maia Singers, tickets £10 at the door including a glass of wine and a mince pie.

If you have never been inside St George's Church, this is a good chance to visit: its 1890s Gothic architecture is as spectacular as any in the country.
2 December 2010

GM Local Transport Plan

Residents are invited to comment by 24 December on Greater Manchester's 'Local Transport Plan' - see the GMITA website for full details (not that there is much actual detail in the railway section).
23 November 2010

Closure of Mosley Street Metrolink station

The Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority proposes to close and remove the Metrolink stop at Mosley Street from the end of February 2010. We have obtained a copy of the consultants' report on this proposal, and you can download it as a PDF here. Although perhaps not very relevant to Davenport passengers, we feel the document needs wider distribution. Representations about the proposal should be sent to the Department for Transport, RLMP division, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR no later than 9 February 2011. There seems to be a policy to keep this plan and the consultation process away from the Internet, perhaps to discourage vexatious objections; it appears that there is no actual need for GMITA to obtain permission as they would for a 'heavy rail' station.

The main purpose of the station is to provide a point in the Piccadily area for Altrincham-bound passengers to catch the more frequent tram service (every 6 minutes in theory) from that point, and as such it is heavily used.

23 November 2010

Disaster on Stockport Viaduct, 1948

As far as we know, no passenger has ever been killed in a train accident on the Stockport - Buxton line itself, but four people travelling to our line were killed in the tragic accident which occurred on Stockport Viaduct on the fog-bound evening of 30 November 1948 when the coaches 5.17 pm Manchester - Hazel Grove train, which had been coupled on the rear of a Crewe-bound service, were run into from behind by a train destined for Buxton. Prolific local historian Kevin Dranfield tells the full dramatic story, aided by the memories of a survivor of the accident, in a new illustrated book Stockport Train Crash: Viaduct Disaster of 1948, copies of which are now available in Waterstones Stockport, and no doubt other local outlets, for £6.

The tragic story will bring back memories for older readers of the impenetrable fogs of those days, the antiquated comparment coaches and their steam locos, and the way the railway staff bravely tried to keep trains running to get commuters home on a night which even with today's modern equipment would probably see all trains cancelled. It seems unimaginable that when stopped at one of the old oil-lit semaphore signals in a fog, the fireman of the locomotive would be expected to climb the ladder of the signal to check whether it was clear to proceed.
16 November 2010

Shopping News


Those of us living in what might perhaps be called 'original' Davenport (between the old Stockport border at Kennerley Road and the 1901 border at the Midland Railway line) are served by the shops opposite the station and the pair (built ca. 1910) next to the Jolly Sailor pub. Since the fall of the Thresher empire these latter two have  become rival 'convenience' shops selling more or less the same items and increasingly festooned with competing placards (picture above). How long this situation can last is hard to imagine. Meanwhile, opposite the station we now have, in addition to the 'St George's Convenience Store' (who remembers good old Deane's Newsagent?), a small Pound Shop (of all things) and, coming soon, a 'Soul Temple.' All the premises in this row were originally houses with front gardens: in the 1911 census for example, no.134, currently the Persis rug shop, and remembered as 'Baccasweet' by long-standing residents, was the family home of Dudley Alfred Elwes, the Assistant District Manager (Goods Dept.) of the London and North Western Railway. The area now occupied by the garages (a.k.a. Industrial Estate) was his garden and those of the adjacent homes. No. 124 on the Garners Lane corner, which no longer exists, was also home to a railway manager.
16 November 2010

Disruption, 30 - 31 October

"A landslip is causing disruption in the Dove Holes area. Because of this, buses are replacing trains between Buxton and New Mills Newtown with journey times extended by up to 30 minutes. This will continue until start of service on Monday 1 November." Trains are serving Davenport at the normal times; the journey time to Buxton including the bus is advertised as 1 hour 13 minutes; we would guess that intermediate stations between New Mills and Buxton will be served by stops on the main road nearest to the stations (which in the case of Chapel-en-le-Frith is quite a long way!)

Considerable irritation was caused on the evening of 30 October when the 17:21 Manchester - Buxton was cancelled altogether because of the above, and local management (such as it is) failed to arrange for extra stops at Davenport and Woodsmoor for the 17:10 (Saturdays Only) Manchester - Hazel Grove which normally omits these stops.

Steam at Buxton

A steam excursion from Birmingham (Tyseley), 'The High Peak' is visiting Buxton on Saturday 23 October: unfortunately for local train-watchers it is not passing through Davenport but is running in both directions via the Hope Valley line, the East Curve at Chinley, and Peak Forest, reversing in the sidings at Buxton to access the station. Tickets are sold out.

Local timings are:

Edale pass 11:56, Great Rocks Junction 12:14, Buxton arrive (after reversal in the sidings) 13:05. Buxton dep 17:53 (hauled back to sidings by diesel loco for reversal) Great Rocks Junction 18:00, Edale pass 18:23.

It appears that the loco will set the train back into the sidings after arrival in Buxton, and then run light-engine to Chinley junction triangle  to turn while the diesel shunts the coaches back to the platform.

22 October 2010

One of many attempts to get the departure screens working again ... note the new CCTV cameras.

Ghost train to Chester

The latest adventure thought up by the Mid-Cheshire Rail Partnership is a 'real ghost train' - which will the 17:58 Stockport - Chester on Wednesday 27 October, and the 21:03 return from Chester, which trains that day will feature 'scary ghost stories, face painting and spooky goody bags' for children. Both trains are normal services with the usual fare - be warned!
19 October 2010

Local travel plan seminar

I attended the recent Seminar organised by the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority to introduce their consultation on the 5-year Local Transport Plan which they are preparing. I was lucky enough to get a seat in the discussion next to Mark Barker, Northern Rail's Client & Stakeholder Manager for our area, and was able to raise with him the matter of overcrowding of trains at Davenport which is at busy times away from the traditional 'peaks' - even on Sundays. Last year there were severe problems in the weeks before Christmas in particular; I suggested that perhaps the 5-car Class 180 trains which stand idle at weekends could be brought into use. He said this might cost too much, but Northern are aware of the problem and hope to do something to help this year.

As for the Plan itself, if you want to read and comment on it, go to www.gmpte.com/LPT3. Unfortunately the documents available seem to be sadly lacking in any detail about how train services are to be improved, beyond stating the obvious problem that Northern Rail does not have enough carriages, and it's hard to run more trains because of congestion at the various junctions around Manchester. Supposedly we may be getting a few second-hand trains to add to the fleet, butsome of that improvement will be cancelled out because the Department for Transport had ordered that four of the best trains used on the Buxton Line, the Class 156 units with their wide seats and tables, are to be given to East Midlands Trains.

The plan by the old Government to order new trains for Northern Rail came to nothing after much money was spent on preparing tender documents etc., etc. In case that matter crops up in any political documents, it should be noted that the cancellation took place just before the recent election. Lord Adonis introduced a plan to electrify several lines in the North West, to be operated by second-hand trains from the Thameslink line in London which is supposed to be getting all new stock. Whether any of this will go ahead remains to be seen - all we hear about recently is the multi-billion High Speed Line.
18 October 2010

Bridge open

The refurbished footbridge was finally brought into use on Friday 10 September, after some titivating of the tarmac and provision of tactile surfaces at the Bramhall Lane gateway.

The work done on the station has also included the installation of CCTV cameras and, very welcome to many older users, proper handrails on both sides of the steps down to the Manchester platform.
11 September 2010

Don't miss your train

The 'leaf-fall' timetable began on 4 September: most trains towards Manchester are now scheduled to leave Davenport a couple of minutes earlier than before. Check the times before travelling.
5 September 2010

More about the footbridge

The rebuilt station footbridge was, we were told, to have been brought into use on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August, but this did not happen. Meanwhile, by courtesy of Chris Houlton of the NR Williams Group we can bring you the story of where it went and what happened to it.

The structural refurbishment was carried out by TI Engineering Services at the NL Williams facility in St. Helens. After an initial blast clean by NLW to remove years of existing coatings, enabling an assessment of the extent of repairs required, TI Engineering Services undertook repair works to bring the footbridge up to engineering specifications. After completing the necessary repair and fabrication works, the footbridge was handed over to NLW Group's Product Finishing Unit for the application of the protective coating system.

After re-blasting the newly repaired footbridge, NLW operatives expertly applied a thermally sprayed and sealed aluminium coating, followed by a high solids epoxy primer, finished with a gloss acrylic urethane - a system deigned to give life to first major maintenance of up to 25 years.

Product Finishing operatives then masked-off areas of the bridge after the initial coating application, to achieve the two-colour paintwork requested by the end-client to match the original appearance of the footbridge. Once the painting work had been completed, Permadeck systems took control of the footbridge to apply Permagrip slip-resistant surfacing to the newly fabricated and replaced main span panels.

29 August

Pub commemorates railwayman

The new pub just opened in Hazel Grove by the JD Wetherspoon chain, at 204 London Road (go down Hatherlow Lane from the station and turn left along the A6) has been named 'The Wilfred Wood'  after local hero Wilfred Wood VC, born in Hazel Grove in 1897, son of Henry Wood, a felt hat blocker also born in Hazel Grove. Wilfred won the Victoria Cross for his actions in World War I. According to Wikipedia:

He was 21 years old, and a private in the 10th Battalion, The Northumberland Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place at the battle of Vittorio Veneto for which he was awarded the VC. On 28 October 1918 near Casa Vana, Italy, when the advance was being held up by hostile machine-guns and snipers, Private Wood on his own initiative worked forward with his Lewis gun, enfiladed the enemy machine-gun nest and caused 140 men to surrender. Later, when a hidden machine-gun opened fire at point-blank range, Private Wood charged the gun, firing his Lewis gun from the hip at the same time. He killed the machine-gun crew and, without further orders, pushed on and enfiladed [fired his gun along] a ditch from which three officers and 160 men subsequently surrendered.

Wilfred's medal record card (from www.ancestry.co.uk)

The naming of a pub after him is quite appropriate, as his grandfather,  James Wood (son of Thomas Wood who was blacksmith at a Poynton Colliery), was in 1891 the licensee of the 'White Hart'  in Hazel Grove, the licence later being taken on by James's widow Hannah who continued to run the pub for many years. It is still in business today at 259 London Road, not far from the new 'Wilfred Wood.'  Wilfred, who at the time of the award of his VC lived at 52 Chester Road,  started his career as an engine cleaner with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), based at Stockport Edgeley loco shed. As such, he would not have been required to join the army as the railways had to be kept running, and it was not until 1917 that he enlisted, like most local men, in the Cheshire Regiment, later transferring to the Northumberland Fusiliers. He returned to the railway after the War, being promoted to fireman in May 1919, and eventually graduated to the role of driver in 1936 - in steam days such a long wait for promotion was quite normal. He retired from British Railways in 1960; by then he was a supervisor at Longsight depot in Manchester.

The LNWR named one of its 'Claughton' class 4-6-0 express passenger locomotives, no.1097, Private W.Wood V.C. after him in 1922.  This loco became no. 5988 when the LNWR was absorbed into the new London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS)  in 1923, and in 1926 the name was transferred to sister loco 6018. This engine was taken out of service in 1926 and  the name passed to new 4-6-0 'Patriot' class Locomotive 5536. This became 45536 when the LMS became part of British Railways in 1948, and rebuilt later that year with a larger boiler; it was withdrawn in 1962.  The Stockport Image Archive has a picture of Mr Wood with the loco.

The story of the two nameplates from 45536 is somewhat unclear. One  is in the Northumberland Fusiliers Museum at Alnwick Castle. One was presented by Mr Wood himself to Norbury Primary School in 1976, but where was this before it was (reportedly) brought to Hazel Grove in 1976, and where it is now, as the school closed some years ago?  Sometime later, if our memory serves, a version of the name could be seen attached by local staff to one of the diesel shunters at Longsight depot.

He is also commemorated, in a half-hearted way, by the Woodgrove Court retirement flats in Peter Street near Sainsbury's, which, it is said, 'takes its name from a combination of Wilfred Wood, who lived in the area and was awarded the Victoria Cross during WW1 and the name of the town itself.'

Acknowledgments are due to the Bramhall Group of the Cheshire Family History Society for many of the above details.

29 August 2010

The Bridge is back!

The refurbished footbridge span was craned into place sometime around 5-6 August, and work began on connecting it to the approaches either side.

Note that it has been re-painted in its 'old' colours rather than the blue theme recently applied to the rest of the station, including the entrance gates (below)

10 August 2010

CCTV to finally arrive?

In December 2009 the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) told us that 'Installation of Customer Information Systems, Public Address Systems, Closed Circuit Television Monitoring and Passenger Help Points Urmston, Levenshulme, Heald Green, East Didsbury, Gatley, Mills Hill, Davenport, Bryn, Littleborough and Horwich Parkway is expected to commence in the New Year with completion by end of April 2010.'

Nothing much happened, but we now receive the exciting news that this work will now be done 'by the autumn.' At the time of writing this, the Customer Information System which we already have has been out of action for at least a fortnight.

4 August 2010

Shopping News

Our friendly local Greengrocer, the 'Garden of Eden' on Bramhall Lane, now has a website, www.thegoe.co.uk, which offers on-line ordering and free delivery.

Nearby, the 'Bargain Booze' shop is closed and shuttered following a fire on 27 July, which is believed to have been an arson attack by persons unknown.

Down the road, by the 'Jolly Sailor', work is going on to re-open the former Thresher off-licence under new ownership - Abbey Retail (Mcr) Ltd. We hear it is to be a 'convenience store' in direct competition to the smaller establishment next door.

4 August 2010.

Station gets a new look

Work is under way to repaint the painted parts of the station in a new scheme featuring blue in place of the previous red. Some have expressed concerns that this not a traditional colour, but at least it is good to see the place being cared for.

The return of the footbridge, removed for 'refurbishment' on 21 March, supposedly for ten weeks, is still awaited.

27 July 2010

Co-op retrenchment

The large Co-operative store in Hazel Grove is closing down from 7pm on 10 August, having been sold to Asda, who will be opening in October. While it is closed, a new direct road entrance to the car park from the A6 will be opened up, replacing the current entrance on Brewers Green. Work has in fact already started: details of the project can be found on the A6 Highways website.

Elsewhere, the Co-op store in the centre of Stockport, which has been in business for many years, and recently traded under the name 'Westgate' is to close early in 2011, the building having been sold to Primark.

Revised 29 July 2010

Class 180s to remain with Northern?

The three 5-coach Class 180 inter-city style trains which have recently been in use by Northern Rail were due to be transferred to the East Coast Main Line at the end of 2010, for use on a new service between Lojdon Kings Cross and Lincoln. However, this plan has now been cancelled as a money-saving measure; it would seem there is a chance that Northern will be able to retain their 180s for a while longer.

To travel in style to Manchester and beyond, be sure to catch the 09:37 or 16:35 from Davenport, and the return train from Preston which calls at Deansgate 15:12, Oxford Road 15:16 and Piccadilly 15:21.
27 July 2010

The Cotton Mill Express is back

'From the Railway Touring Company: 'It's back! Our special Cotton Mill Express train, recalling the great textile heritage around Manchester, returns on Saturday 17 July by popular demand to provide another wonderful day out. The tour has been extended to start and finish in Lancaster and also serves Preston and Wigan North Western. We pick up the old route at Manchester Victoria.

'The Railway Touring Company is offering £5pp discount when you quote CMM on this exciting day excursion. For more information or to book visit our website at www.railwaytouring.co.uk or contact us on 01553 661500.'

Expected locomotive for the tour is steam 4-6-0 6115 Scots Guardsman; Manchester passengers board at approx. 10:00 or 14:43 and return at about 17:30. Fares start at £60 for adults.
- 8 July 2010

Cale Green Park Fun Day, Sunday 4 July

The Crazy Tramps trampoline act, plus Tea, Coffee & Homemade Cakes are back at the Cale Green Park Fun Day, on Sunday 4 July from 1 pm to 5 pm!

There's also Face Painting, Craft Stalls, Line Dancing, Raffle, Children’s Fancy Dress Competition (judging at 3.45 pm), and music from Annie's Saints & Sinners Jazz Band.

The event, which is Sponsored by Cale Green Park Residents’ Association and the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester (Grassroots Fund) is free to enter. Cale Green Park is opposite Davenport station.

New Timetable from 23 May

There is a change of timetable from 23 May, but the times for the Davenport line show little change. (The new booklet can be downloaded from the Northern Rail website.) Sadly, the same faults are still apparent: notably the lack of direct trains from Manchester Oxford Road on weekday evenings, with a two-hour gap on Mondays to Fridays from 16:16 to the 18:16 which is the last through train from Oxford Road, the most convenient station for theatres, etc., and the irritating breaks in the rhythm of departures to Manchester shown by the 14:05 and 16:35 trains to Manchester departing two or three minutes earlier than the normal time on weekdays. And as before, all trains (except perhaps one?) are formed of diesel units even though the line to Hazel Grove is electrified. One of our councillors is Stockport's member of the Intergated Transport Authority, maybe he will be able to raise these matters in the appropriate quarter?

100 Years of Princess Road bus depot

A new book, produced to celebrate the 100th year of the Princess Road depot, is a stunning pictorial history of local transport, compiled from images supplied by people from across the region. It traces the history of the last century of transport around Manchester, and how the region has evolved.

Created with submissions from local people following an appeal in the local press in 2009 it tells a pictorial story of how the depot and the vehicles it has housed over the past century, alongside real photos from real people who have contributed to transport over the years. Contributors include Hazel Grove resident, Edna Power, who donated a photo of her father, Manchester Corporation Transport Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Robert John Maun, aboard tram number 1007. The photograph was taken as Manchester’s last tram was arriving at Hyde Road depot, before being burned.

Eric Herbert of Urmston donated a photo of his mother alongside a team of cleaners who kept public transport in pristine condition, and played a huge part in maintaining a sense of normality throughout the ‘Manchester blitz’.

All proceeds from the book will be donated to Stagecoach Manchester’s nominated charity, Moss Side-based Manchester Young Lives.  This organisation offers youth work, educational and training programmes to children and young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Manchester. The book is on sale now, price £7, from outlets including the Ian Allan Bookshop, 5 Piccadilly Station Approach, Manchester. More information on the Stagecoach website.
19 May 2010

Northern Rail franchise extended

Amid all the election hoo-hah, Rail News is reporting that Northern Rail (which is a consortium of Serco and the Netherlands State Railway) has won a two-year extension to their franchise to run trains in our area, which will now continue until September 2011. Apparently "Northern has improved the punctuality of its train services from 83.7% in the 12 months to December 2004 to 91.6% in the last 12 months, meaning that on average 200 more trains arrive on time every day now than in 2004."
13 May 2010

Freight through Davenport

Freight trains are not common through Davenport, but here's a load of stone diverted our way on 10 April while the line through Bredbury was closed for engineering work.

Grand National Special

Saturday 10 April is 'Grand National' day, and as last year, East Midlands Trains will be running one of their 'Merdian' Inter-City trains on the Nottingham - Liverpool route to handle the extra passengers.
The train will work the 08:45 Nottingham - Liverpool (calls Stockport 10:25), 11:52 Liverpool - Nottingham (calls Stockport 12:54), 14:45 Nottingham - Liverpool  (calls Stockport 16:25) and 17:52 Liverpool - Nottingham (calls Stockport 18:54).
9 April

Sunday 4 April: Trains are replaced by buses between Stockport and Manchester due to engineering work. Trains towards Buxton will depart Davenport approximately 20 minutes later than normal. Northern Rail have a PDF Timetable for 4 April.


A very strange news item in the Stockport Express. Extract:

A transport revolution is on the cards following Stockport’s decision to vote ‘yes’ to the Manchester ‘super-council’. In an exclusive interview with the Express, Councillor Goddard revealed he expects a united Manchester to kick-start both Stockport’s regeneration and its transport links with a major cash injection.

Coun Goddard said: "They have agreed Stockport is a special case and there should be a committee looking at its specific transport problems," he said. "Stockport has historically not received the benefits but now I have negotiated that there will be a high level officer group that looks at this – that’s new and has come out of this." Likely improvements will include new railway stations at Cheadle and Gatley, more trains between Stockport and Manchester, and electric railway lines to Hazel Grove.

Is the reporter confused, or doesn't Cllr Goddard know the Hazel Grove line is already electrified, even though Northern Rail choose not to run any electric trains on it? Who knows? What makes them think there can be more trains between Stockport and Manchester, when the line is already said to be so congested that some trains from Chester have to turn terminate at Stockport?
2 April

Those viaduct fences

We are told that the fences on the end of the platforms at Stockport, illustrated here recently, have been erected to stop suicidal people walking on to the viaduct with a view to jumping off. Sad.
2 April

The Western Rocks, 20 March

Richard Putley has kindly sent these pictures of the railtour to Buxton hauled by D1015 Western Champion on 20 March. The train stopped at Denton (above) for the passengers to take pictures at this station which normally only sees one train a week.

After passing through Davenport, the train reached Buxton (above) before returning via Peak Forest and the Hope Valley line.

Speaking of special trains, locally-based charter train organisers Retro Railtours are running an excursion from Stockport to Edinburgh on 31 May, with adult fares from just £49.50. The train will be hauled by celebrity 'Deltic' locomotive 55 022 Royal Scots Grey. Details and online booking at www.retrorailtours.co.uk

Spot the difference

The main girder structure of the station footbridge was removed over the night of 20-21 March and taken away for refurbishment. There was an idea at one time to move it to the car park and work on it there, but this has not happened. The scaffolding arrangement supports the cables for the information screens, which were previously carried in trunking fixed to the bridge.
23 March

A Deltic to Edinburgh with Retro Railtours

Locally based charter train organisers Retro Railtours and running an excursion from Stockport to Edinburgh on 31 May, with adult fares from just £49.50. The train will be hauled by celebrity 'Deltic' locomotive 55 022 Royal Scots Grey. Details and online booking at www.retrorailtours.co.uk

A 'Western' though Davenport

An excursion hauled by preserves 'Western' class diesel-hydraulic locomotive D1015 Western Champion will be passing through Davenport on Saturday 20 March. Some timings are: Stockport (pass)              12.24, Hazel Grove (pass) 12.30, Buxton arrive 13.05, depart 16.15, returns a different way, via Peak Forest (17:05) and Edale.

If you take a picture of this train, please send it to us for display here.
18 March

The Great Western Express

Our friends at the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users Association are running an excursion to Oxford, Bath and Bristol on Saturday 8 May which picks up at Stockport. Full details and online booking at www.mcrua.org.uk.
10 March

Easter Farmers' Market in Cale Green Park

On Easter Monday, the Friends of Cale Green Park will be hosting the first ever farmers' market in the Park (opposite Davenport station.) There will be an Easter Egg Hunt, but the real attraction will be the produce at the stalls ... The market is the one that used to take place at Heaton Mersey Park. More details at: www.calegreenparkresidents.org.uk
10 March


Lifting out the footbridge for refurbshment is clearly not going to plan, as it is still there on 12 March and looks likely still to be there for a couple of weeks yet. The picture shows some men in orange suits looking at the problem, or maybe waiting for something....

Building of the two 'affordable' homes on the empty site in Oakfield Road is proceeding at great speed. The red colour is the plastic protecting the timber framing. Notice how close the frontages are to the pavement, although the developers have increased this distance to 1.7 metres after their original planning application was refused. The council's other objection, that future residents would suffer noise and inconvenience from the workplaces opposite, would seem to still apply. Apparently the houses will have cycle shed, solar panels, and wind turbines! (Here is an interesting document concerning this site.) As usual, the picture shows parked vehicles obstructing the pedestrian area.

At Stockport station, sturdy fences have been erected to stop people walking off the ends of the platforms. Why?

Some peace and traquillity: model sailing boats on Edgeley Reservoir.

Model Railways at Chapel-en-le-Frith

The New Mills Railway Modellers are holding their annual exhibition on 27 and 28 February.  It will be held at Chapel-en-le-
Frith High School, Long Lane, Chapel, ten minutes' walk down the road from Chapel-en-le-Frith station.  There should be 23 layouts attending in a variety of scales, and also a good dose of  traders/preservation stands.  It will be open from 10 am until 5 pm both days  and light refreshments are also available.  More info at www.nmdrm.co.uk
25 February

More about the Davenport footbridge

The project to refurbish Davenport's station footbridge is under way, as you may realise from the signs that have been posted. The intention had been to lift out the bridge span on 20 February, until it was realised that trunking carrying the connections to the information screens was attached to the bottom of it.  The 'big lift' is now planned to happen, all being well, over the night of 26-27 February. From next week passengers will need to access the platforms via the ramp and stairs direct from the road.
25 February

Bramhall Lane website

Our very own main street, Bramhall Lane, now has its own website - www.bramhalllane.co.uk - complete with a Twitter feed! Why not pay it a visit?
10 February

Mosley Street station to close?

The Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority are proposing to close and remove the one-way Manchester Metrolink station at Mosley Street, which exists to a more frequent service from the Piccadilly area towards Altrincham than is offered in the daytime (as services from both Bury and Piccadilly station can call), despite surveys which show that on average 36 passengers board there in the peak period.

The new trams do not have steps for low platforms, so if a coupled pair of them was to call at this stop, the whole platform would have to be built up to high level like the one at St Peters Square has been already. Apparently this would cost £1.2 million, compared to £300,000 for removing the station altogether.  There is also a concern that stopping there when far more trams are running in the future would cause congestion.

Here is the GMITA's recent document on the proposal (PDF)
8 February

Sunday timetable changes

For some unexplained reason, there are some small changes to the times of Sunday morning trains from Davenport with effect from 7 February. The first train on Sundays now leaves two minutes earlier at 09:02 and continues through to Manchester Piccadilly instead of terminating at Stockport. The following trains to Manchester are 11:06. 12:06 and 13:08, then at 08 minutes past each hour until 22:06. Towards Buxton, departures from Davenport are 09:13 (20 minutes earlier than previously), 10:09, then at 09 minutes past each hour until 23:09.

1 February

Travel in Style

If you fancy a pleasant day or evening out, using an especially comfortable train, consider one of the services on Mondays to Fridays which are scheduled for one of the 5-coach 'class 180' trains currently on loan to Northern Rail, which have plenty of seats, including some ex-first-class ones, and air-conditioning. The trains to look for are:
Updated 30 January

More departures

Following on from the recent announcement of the resignation of Northern Rail Managing Director Heidi Mottram (taking her OBE with her) we hear of further departures from among the Northern Rail upper echelons.

Paul Salveson, the guru of the 'Community Railways' idea, is taking up a post with Grand Central, the 'open access' company which runs a few trains a day between Sunderland and London Kings Cross.

Also heading for pastures new is Ruud Haket, Northern's Engineering Director, who, as his name suggests, came to Northern from the Netherlands Railways, joint owners of the franchise. While rumour has it that he was not universally popular with the staff at Newton Heath depot, neither have he and his staff had an easy task looking after the assorted collection of ageing stock that forms the Northern Rail fleet.

In any case, the franchise system itself, with companies created for a life of just a few years, does not encourage senior managers to stay. Northern started in November 2004 and has the franchise for 8 years 9 months. What happens after that is anyone's guess.

Updated 30 January

Welcome to 2010

Congratulations to Northern Rail for keeping a train service running on our line, even to Buxton over one of the highest summits in England, through the snowy weather.

7 January: Cold conditions are affecting some trains this morning. See the Live Departures website. (To find out about Hazel Grove - Preston Trains, you will need to check 65 minutes before your planned departure time to see if the incoming train from Preston is running.)

Northern Rail have a Twitter feed for disruption information: twitter.com/NRE_northern