Great Little Trains of Cheshire

Narrow gauge and miniature railways past and present of a Cestrian nature

For many railway buffs, ‘Cheshire’ and ‘narrow gauge’ seldom feature in the same sentence. Throughout the 20th Century they were unsung heroes in the making of modern Cheshire. Towards the end of the 20th century they had all but vanished, with narrow gauge lines assuming post-industrial uses.

The most common narrow gauge in use was the two feet gauge. North West Water and its predecessors opted for 2′ over the 4′ 8″ gauge, being favourable for moving to and fro between treatment plants. It was also used by the Central Electricity Generating Board for a line opposite the 4′ 8″ Woodhead route.

In Cestrian railway history, the narrow and miniature gauge lines are overlooked in favour of the four foot permanent way. This article aims to right this wrong. (Please note, the definition of Cheshire in this piece refers to the pre-1974 county). Continue reading Great Little Trains of Cheshire

Another Success for Stalybridge Town Cinema

Second showing sees Bridgeites’ appetite for film unflailing

Stalybridge Town Cinema, the newly opened community cinema in Judge’s Bar played host to another fantastic night on Tuesday 25 August. Its showing of The Full Monty was another success with most seats filled.
Continue reading Another Success for Stalybridge Town Cinema

Greater Manchester Set to Lose Another 17 Trains

Anger as bankers move electric trains to the West Midlands

Class 323 EMU, Manchester Piccadilly station
The Class 323s first arrived in Greater Manchester in 1996, originally for services to and from Manchester Airport. Following issues with Railtrack’s Safety Case, the Hunslet TPL built units’ introduction was delayed by two years. They first appeared on the Hadfield line in November 1997, replacing slam-door Class 305s.

Almost a year after the DfT’s imposition of an evening peak for Greater Manchester’s rail users comes another body blow. Porterbrook Leasing, who owns most of Britain’s trains has refused to offer 17 Class 323 electric trains to Northern Rail’s successors in 2016.

Instead, the rolling stock leasing company (owned by Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Allianz Capital Partners, EDF Invest and Hastings Fund Management) has decided to move them to the West Midlands. At present, the Centro West Midlands boundary sees a number of local services utilising Class 323, and the move allows for greater standardisation. The reason, to reduce maintenance costs. Continue reading Greater Manchester Set to Lose Another 17 Trains

Second Screening Steels March on Expensive Rivals

Another full house for Stalybridge Town Cinema

Following the success of Brassed Off at the Stalybridge Town Cinema within Judge’s Bar, the recently opened cinema has repeated its previous success. This time, a full house is expected for the cinema’s showing of The Full Monty.
Continue reading Second Screening Steels March on Expensive Rivals

Saddleworth and Tameside Bus Service Changes, September 2015

Just the usual reversion to schoolday timetables but…

  • Changes to 353 service sees curtailment to Dobcross;
  • Retiming of peak hour Denton – Stockport journeys.
Enviro400 Stagecoach Manchester MX07 HNB, King Street, Dukinfield
Back to the old : a typical weekday on the 330 service to Stockport.

Little to report today other than one minor change and the restoration of schoolday journey times. Continue reading Saddleworth and Tameside Bus Service Changes, September 2015

The Autie Friendly Guide to Booking Taxis

From booking to boarding and tipping drivers

A useful primer on the joys of using minicabs and taxis for people with Autism Spectrum Conditions

If you’re the proud owner of a concessionary pass of some description, there’s every chance you’ll find it useful for accessing local services or your nearest shop. As part of any holiday or day trip, a boon for meeting people or seeing new attractions.

Sadly the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (and its equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) does have some limitations. Firstly it cannot guarantee the prompt running of any bus service. Secondly, some pass holders may be in a bus dessert; for example rural areas without a service at all, or urban areas cut off at night time.

In some cases this leaves you with two options. Either a lift to and from your destination from a relative or carer. Or a taxi. This piece concentrates on the latter example. Continue reading The Autie Friendly Guide to Booking Taxis

In Praise of Grassroots Cinema

A look at the rise of community cinema schemes

After a hard day’s work, the first thing you wish to do is get home, crash in front of the sofa, and enjoy a takeaway. You then want to slump in front of the television, catch up on the soaps, or go to Netflix.

But doing so is a rather lonely existence. At least that’s how I see it. If watching television or films, there are certain programmes I prefer to watch on my own (documentaries) or family (the odd quiz show or other forms of lowbrow entertainment). Continue reading In Praise of Grassroots Cinema

UK Motorway Wonders: The Not So Perfect Ten

A selection of wondrous sights on or seen from British motorways

Let’s face it: a trip along any motorway can be boring at the best of times. Any sense of originality or quirkiness is eschewed in favour of the bland. The same sodium lights, speed gantries, and overpriced motorway services.

If you look around, there is some features which stand out from the norm. Some of which may be survivors of the early days of high speed motoring. Continue reading UK Motorway Wonders: The Not So Perfect Ten

Rebellious Mixtape #10: One After 409

A musical tribute to the 1978 version of Rochdale Bus Station

Rochdale Bus Station, 2006 (retro style)
The old version of Rochdale bus station, photographed in 2006 (1978 – 2013).

Nostalgia’s a strange thing. I love the latest version of Rochdale bus station because of its improved tram connections and how everything is under one roof. No trying to run across roadways to catch a 528 for Halifax (because of the 409 being on the opposite platform). It is everything a modern transport interchange should be. Continue reading Rebellious Mixtape #10: One After 409

Now You Know What I Did This Summer (2015 Edition)

Bus and light rail operations in Tynemouth and surrounding area

Arriva Northumbria Wright StreetLite NK64 EEZ, Tynemouth
The second biggest operator in Tynemouth: Arriva Northumberland, represented by a Wright StreetLite at its terminus by Tynemouth Park. Later, this would return to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a westbound journey of the 306 service.

Only last week, courtesy of National Holidays, I had the joy of a five day holiday in County Durham and Northumberland. This included excursions to Beamish Open Air Museum, Holy Island and the city of Durham. With most of the trips returning to our hotel for 4.00pm to 4.30pm, there was ample time for a little night’s bus hopping. Continue reading Now You Know What I Did This Summer (2015 Edition)