By Charlie Hulme
Deansgate afternoon - report by Charlie Hulme
On my weekly visits to Manchester, I am in the habit of spending some
of the afternoon watching and photographing trains, especially the
freights which emerge from Trafford Park in the hourly departure paths
available at 13:17, 14:17, 15:18 and 16:18 which are shared between
three operators: DB Schenker, GB Railfreight and Freightliner.
a shortage of good vantage points from which to watch trains in the
area: Deansgate station is my favourite for outbound trains, as
the activity on the Metrolink line can also be observed. The only
inbound working in the afternoon is a Freightliner loco which runs
light-engine from Crewe to Trafford Park, passing Deansgate at
14:35. Using the 'real time trains' website it is quite easy to
find out what trains are running – there are a number of 'conditional'
(Q) paths listed which are, in my experience, very rarely used.
you want to see an inbound train, the best times are in the mornings at
10:35 and 11:35 through Deansgate. All these trains normally run
the Styal line.
These pictures were all taken at Deansgate on Thursday 9 October 2014
after arriving at Deansgate by means of the 12:33 Hazel Grove -
Among the passenger trains on this busy section of line are the
services between Manchester Airport and Scotland, now in the hands of
new Class 350/4 electric units. These pass Deansgate station at
20 minutes past the hour northbound and 23 past southbound. The
taken at 13:23 shows the 10:08 from Edinburgh, formed of 350 402.
The freight trains from Trafford Park are booked to pass at xx.26, but
often will be held back to wait for the passage of the Manchester
Airport - Southport which calls at xx.28 and the Southport – Manchester
Airport which calls at xx.29 as these occupy the junction. The
seen here at 13:30. 'Merseyside Pacer' 142 057, with its
indicator, is on the left, and unmodified unit 142 040 on the
The 'R' sign is a reminder to drivers of trains calling at the station
that there is a speed restriction ahead.
The road was then set for the Cheshire Lines route, and 66 102 appeared
around the corner with the 13:17 Trafford Park Euroterminal to London
Gateway. The telephoto view reveals the forest of old and new
line equipment in the area, ranging from 1930s-era gantries for the
Manchester - Altrincham service to the newly-installed supports for the
Deansgate to Parkside electrification, with their white arms.
the wires under the two viaducts at Castlefield Junction, especially
the disused one which is lower, was a challenge for the engineers.
A walk across the 'Exhibition Footbridge' built in 1985 and due for a
much-needed rebuild, took me to Deansgate-Castlefield (formerly G-Mex)
Metrolink station, where enlargement work is in progress.
tram 3032 is arriving at the new inbound island platform, replacing the
original 'staggered' arrangement. There is now to be a
awning at this draughty location.
Now that 'on-sight' working has been implemented, there is a very
frequent flow through this station: on weekdays there are 25 trams per
hour in each direction during the day. No.3021 is departing
Peter's Square, with a new crossover in view and the new line on the
other side of the island platform under construction. Manchester
train shed looms in the background.
The new track; new Metrolink lines make much use of 'slab track'
with the rails clipped to blocks which are set in a concrete base and
linked by an embedded steel tie bar.
Back at Deansgate station, this view is of the tram station and the
'Beetham Tower' rising behind. The entertainment venues in the arches
are alongside the locks of the Rochdale Canal.
The 11:44 Llandudno - Manchester Piccadilly passes Deansgate at 13:48,
worked by 158 837. Most trains on this service are Class 175
there is one diagram for a 158, which runs coupled to another 158 on a
morning working out of Manchester. After arrival at Piccadilly,
train will spend 47 minutes in Mayfield Loop before forming the 14:50
to Llandudno. From December 2014, some Manchester – North Wales
trains are to be locomotive-worked with Class 67 locos in push-pull
I did not wait for the 14:17 GBRf train from Trafford Park on this
occasion, but I was at Oxford Road station to see the passage of the
15:17 Trafford Park Freightliner to Southampton Docks, hauled by 66
559. The freights normally, but not always, run through Platform
which creates 'against the light' conditions for photography.
The proposed changes to this station will abolish the bay platform 5
(the turnout to the right of the loco) and extend the other platforms
towards Deansgate on a structure partially cantilevered out over
Whitworth Street to allow 8-coach trains to call. The 'listed'
building will remain, but the footbridge and shelters will be replaced
by a new structure
incorporating lifts to all platforms.
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Last update October 27th Comments