To 2015-17 archive


Same Date.........Same Train?  by Ken Millward

These two photographs were taken on May 5th 1980 on the occasion of a family day trip to North Wales.  Stopping off at Helsby to photograph the impressive semaphores, 40038 came by with a fully fitted empty ballast train (left).  Two and a half hours later what appears to be the same working is seen from the town walls at Conwy.  Because I cannot read the loco number in the second shot, it's impossible to be certain whether it is the same train....but it could be!

Local News Items by Andrew Macfarlane

Franchise Change

The Arriva Trains Wales franchise ended on Saturday 13th October and the new Transport for Wales franchise started the following day, Sunday 14th October. The new franchise is operated by Keolis Amey on behalf of the Welsh Government. It remains to be seen if the Club 55 offer continues under the new operator!  The Transport for Wales franchise is currently struggling due to a shortage of trains because of autumn leaf fall causing wheel flats and modifications to stock to cater for the 1st January 2020 deadline to comply with access legislation.        

New Stations

TfGM has identified six potential sites for new rail stations or Metrolink stops. The six sites have not yet been made public.  

Virgin Trains has removed Friday evening ticket restrictions
After a successful trial, Virgin Trains has permanently removed evening ticket restrictions on services out of Euston on Friday evenings. Previously Off-Peak return tickets were banned on services departing between 15.01 and 18.44.     


60163 Tornado did not come through Altrincham on Wednesday 1st August because it was still under repair. The excursion was postponed until spring 2019 but it is now unlikely to come through Altrincham because Network Rail has identified a number of loading gauge issues with the locomotive on the Mid Cheshire Line.      

May 2019 Timetable

The introduction of two trains an hour on the Mid Cheshire Line has been deferred until May 2019 and we are now told that the second train will operate between Altrincham and Chester because of a shortage of paths between Stockport and Piccadilly.  Also for the same reason the local service between Manchester and Macclesfield will remain at one train per hour and the service from Blackpool North will now run through to Hazel Grove from May 2019 rather than running to Macclesfield. The New TPE Mark 5A loco-hauled stock with class 68s is now due to start running on the Liverpool-Scarborough service from May 2019.  

Stockport Rail Day

This event will not take place in 2019. 

Metrolink News

27 new trams were ordered from Bombardier on 2nd July. It is planned that all services on the Altrincham line will be operated by double trams at peak periods (7am to 8pm on Monday to Friday) once the new trams are in service. Currently 7 out 10 services are operated by double trams at peak periods. Good progress is being made on the construction of the new Trafford Park line from Pomona to the Trafford Centre and the line may open earlier than its planned opening date of 2020. A zonal fare system will be introduced on Metrolink on 13th January 2019. The through ticketing from rail to Metrolink will continue. The planned increase in frequency on the Ashton line to every 6 minutes will now start in January 2019. This will be achieved by extending the Media City-Etihad Campus service to Ashton. Signalling alterations took place between Trafford Bar and Old Trafford over the weekend of Saturday 20th October and Sunday 21st October to provide more operational flexibility for special events. The new signalling enables trams from the Manchester direction or from the depot to use the facing crossover at Old Trafford and then run over the level crossing into the Manchester-bound platform to form a service back towards Manchester. There are now functioning ticket machines on both platforms at Dane Road after long periods when one or both machines was out of order due to damage caused by attempted thefts from the machines.         

Record Price Paid for a Steam Locomotive Nameplate

Members may be interested to know that one of the original nameplates from LNER Class A3 No. 4472 "Flying Scotsman" sold at the GW Railwayana auction in Pershore on 17th November for £64,500 (not including buyer's premium or VAT). The plate sold was from the right-hand side of the locomotive and was one of a pair made in 1926 to replace earlier nameplates which were prone to cracking. It remained in situ until 2003 when both original nameplates and workplates were removed and sold, and modern replicas attached.

Bidding opened at £28,000, and although there was interest in the room and from at least one telephone bidder the successful collector secured the plate via the internet within four minutes.

This was a record price for a steam locomotive nameplate; the previous highest had been £60,000 paid for LNER Class A4 No. 60030 "Golden Fleece" in December 2004.

Later in the auction one of the brass cabside numberplates from Churchward's Pacific "The Great Bear" (No. 111) sold for £12,500. The nameplate from Gresley B17 No. 2871 "Manchester City" realized £18,000.

Philip Hulme

The Ballad of John Axon

Back in the 1950s a BBC radio producer, Charles Parker, devised the concept of the 'Radio Ballad', each of which which would feature working-class people, with newly-composed songs and the words of the workers. For the first version, he chose the railway, and the story of the Chapel-en-Le-Frith South accident in February 1957, focusing on Edgeley-based driver John Axon, who was died at his post on a runaway train when it collided with the rear of another. Folk singers Ewan
McColl and Peggy Seeger (sister of famous US folksinger Pete Seeger) were commissioned to write the music, and join in the interviews with 9B train crews.

The programme was first broadcast in July 1958, and was also issued as an LP record. In 2018, at the suggestion of MLS member Keith Whitmore, a Mayor's reception was held at Stockport Town Hall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the broadcast. Among the invitees were former Stockport train crew, along with Peggy Seeger (born 1935), survivor of
the original trio.

MLS member Eddie Bowlas, seen next to Ms Seeger in the photograph, tells us that the ballad features the sound of him on the footplate of a loco, shovelling coal.

Committee Meeting 735

The minutes of the September Committee Meeting are now filed in the 'Reports' Section of the Members - only area. (Password Required)

News Items Round Up - by Andrew Macfarlane

Class 769

The first of the former Thameslink class 319 electric trains to be fitted with a diesel engine has started test running on the Great Central Railway. The project is running seriously behind schedule. If successful, the trains will be used on Northern services in the North West.  Ken Widd's pictures were taken at Quorn on 30 September.

The unit number is blacked out, but the two end cars are 77356 & 77357. The units being converted are of the 319/4 subclass, with first class seating. The first two units being  converted are 319 434 and 319 456.

The underfloor equipment. Class 319 driving trailers have very little under the floor, making this conversion to electro-diesel viable.

Halton Curve

The planned new service between Liverpool Lime Street and Chester via Runcorn and Frodsham, to be operated by the Welsh franchise, will not now begin until May 2019 due to a shortage of rolling stock (linked to the delays with the class 769 programme).

December 2018 Timetable

Most of the planned changes across the country have been deferred until May 2019 to avoid a repeat of this May’s problems. Transpennine Express (TPE) will be tweaking their services to improve performance. The Piccadilly-Leeds local service will be split at Huddersfield and turnround times will be increased at Manchester Airport by swapping the departure times for the Middlesbrough and Newcastle services. The New TPE Mark 5A loco-hauled stock with class 68s is due to begin running in passenger service from December on the Liverpool-Scarborough service. A full electric service on the Bolton line will not now begin until May 2019.    

Metrolink News

The planned increase in frequency on the Ashton line to every 6 minutes may now start in January 2019. There is an issue with traffic light phasing where roads cross the line in Ashton. Signalling alterations are to take place between Trafford Bar and Old Trafford to provide more operational flexibility for special events.

This is Tyseley on September 28th 2018.

Here are four of our members - Messrs Rowbotham, Bowlas, Budge and Holt.  All ex Stockport Edgeley loco men, they are present for the launch of 'Bahamas' back to full working order.

Mayor's visit

On Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, Councillor Linda Holt, Mayor of Stockport 2017-18 returned to our headquarters by invitation to receive a small gift. This marked the occasion of her official visit earlier in the year on 5th May 2018 in conjunction with the 'Stockport Community Railshow'. Linda, accompanied by her husband and Consort Ken Holt, spent a considerable time with us and much appreciated what we had to offer. Escorts were Chris Tasker, Dave Nixon and Paul Shackcloth. The photograph shows Dave Nixon, on behalf of the society, presenting a framed period plan of the local railway network to Linda.  Photo by Paul Shackcloth.

MLS Duplicate Photographs

100's of duplicate photographs and colour slides are always available for sale.  This year, the sales stand will once again be present at Poynton (Great Nothern Railway Auctions) on October 6th and at the Manchester Model Railway Exhibition at the Barnes Wallace Building on December 1st and 2nd selling to the general public.

The duplicate collection is also available to view by MLS members at the clubrooms on occasion.  Contact Paul - - for further details.

'Nosey Peaker'

The above named special train, organised by the Branch Line Society, ran on June 14th from Stafford to Buxton and featured three Class 37 locomotives.  Entering the Greater Manchester area via the main line from Crewe, the train ran through Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations to Victoria via the recently opened Ordsall Curve.  From there, the route was Ashton Moss, Denton and Heaton Norris Jct to Stockport.  The ex-LNWR route to Buxton doesn't see much unusual traffic these days which made this working particularly interesting.

Profits from the sale of tickets went to the Railway Children charity which was set up by MLS member David Maidment.

37558 'Avro Vulcan XH558' (37427) and 37407 head the train through Davenport.  Photo Charlie Hulme.  

37401 'Mary Queen of Scots' was the tail loco.  Photo Charlie Hulme.

The train is seen here on the reverse curves between New Mills (Newtown) and Furness Vale.  Photo Ken Millward.

Local Rail News Pictures - Spring 2018

Take a look at this new article compiled by Peter Cross and Charlie Hulme.  It features splendid photographs and interesting information about what's been happening on the local rail scene recently.

King  in Blue


One of the main stars of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's May Gala was the "Blue King" No 6023 King Edward II.  MLS member Tony Martin was present on on the 26th and took this photograph of the resplendent locomotive.  Although it was hoped that the King would be returning to main line running in the not too distant future, this will not now happen before it's boiler ticket expires less than two years from now.

Stockport Community Rail Festival

A selection of images of the successful and well attended Festival held on Saturday 5th May at Stockport Station.

The Mayor of Stockport, Linda Holt and her consort Kenneth Holt, are pictured along with MLS archivist Dave Nixon at the Manchester Locomotive Society headquarters during the Community Rail Festival.

Class 319s expand their range - report by Charlie Hulme

Photo: Charlie Hulme

The Class 319 EMUs being drafted in to Northern from the London area have been working various services including the Manchester Victoria - Liverpool via Eccles stopping trains,
the Liverpool to Manchester Airport service and the Manchester  Piccadilly to Manchester Airport shuttles for some time, but in spring 2018 they have begun to appear at Stockport,
one each weekday being allocated to a Manchester Piccadilly - Alderley Edge/Crewe diagram in place of a 323.

In a surprise one-off change on Saturday 10 March, the  319-worked service from Victoria was diverted to run from Hazel  Grove, due to engineering work, bringing the 319s to  Hazel Grove for the first time.

The Alderley Edge diagram is as follows:

5H43 0643 Stockport CMD to Alderley Edge ECS
2H43 0730 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly
2K49 0804 Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe
5H47 0916 Crewe to Alderley Edge ECS
2H47 0949 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly
2K37 1038 Manchester Piccadilly to Alderley Edge
2H41 1150 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly
2K42 1238 Manchester Piccadilly to Alderley Edge
2H43 1350 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly
2K46 1438 Manchester Piccadilly to Alderley Edge
2H47 1550 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly
2K30 1637 Manchester Piccadilly to Alderley Edge
2H41 1750 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly
2K36 1838 Manchester Piccadilly to Alderley Edge
5K38 1920 Alderley Edge to Manchester Piccadilly ECS
2K38 2004 Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe
5H29 2108 Crewe to Crewe ECS (via Crewe C.E.T. Sidings)
2H44 2145 Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly
2K41 2304 Manchester Piccadilly to Alderley Edge
5H28 2345 Alderley Edge to Stockport CMD ECS

The four-car Class 319s are capable of operation on third-rail as well as 25kV overhead electrification, as they were originally designed for use on the Thameslink service connecting lines north and south of London. Structurally they have much in common with the Class 150 DMUs which they now appear alongside on Northern.They are powered by four 750V DC motors, driving all axles of one intermediate coach - in which the charactertic whine
of the motors can be heard. The doors in the cab ends were required for emergency use in the single-track tunnelsof the Thameslink line.

Steam Returns to Hindlow.

On Saturday March 17th the Railway Touring Company ran the 'High Peak Explorer' from Carnforth to Buxton and Hindlow.  These photographs were taken by John Tate at Dukes Drive Viaduct in Buxton.

Photo:John Tate
The outward journey, headed by Black 5 No 45157.

Photo:John Tate
Jubilee No 45690 'Leander' assists at the rear.

Photo: Charlie Hulme.
The weather changed significantly for the return journey.  The special is seen passing through Davenport watched by some hardy locals!

Signalbox Closure Date and Other News.  From Andrew Macfarlane

Confirmation of the closure and demolition of Ashton Moss North Junction signal box during a two-week blockade from 14 to 29 April. The plan is to re-align the junction over the site of the box.  The box is a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway structure of 1911 containing its original 56-lever frame.

 The line needs to cater for 6 trains per hour in each direction (2 Northern and 4 TransPennine Express) plus freights from the 20th May timetable change. The 4 TPE trains per hour are:

Liverpool- Newcastle via Victoria

Liverpool-Scarborough diverted to run via Victoria    

Manchester Airport-Middlesbrough diverted to run via Oxford Road, Ordsall Chord and Victoria

Manchester Airport-Newcastle diverted to run via Oxford Road, Ordsall Chord and Victoria
DfT press release on Crewe Hub (good news in my view):

Govt response to last year's consultation on the subject:

Class 350 at Stockport

On Sunday February 4th, due to engineering works, train 1S46 09.17 Manchester Piccadilly - Edinburgh was routed via Stockport, Crewe (reverse) and Warrington Bank Quay.  This is a rare route for a Class 350 EMU.  Kevin Parkinson photographed 350 402 passing Stockport.

Train Log 60s

Have you noticed the newly added link on the Home Page to this website?

This is a highly impressive trainspotting log by our member Kevin Daily.  It is mainly concerned with the Stockport and Manchester area (and a few from elsewhere) and commences in Summer 1959 running in sections through to the summer of 1968.
The wealth of information on each page is phenomenal.  Train service destinations, locomotives, multiple units, motive power allocations, even carriage numbers are included.  More entries will be added regularly.

Train Log 60s

New Feature Article

A very interesting new article by Pete Bridge entitled Trial by Camera - The Manchester Area in the 1970s has been published in the Feature Articles section.

2017 AGM minutes

The minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting, together with the minutes of Committee Meeting no 730 (November) can be found by clicking on Reports in the password protected section of the Members Page.

Members' contributions welcome at:

Last update December 2018.