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→
Anger as bankers move electric trains to the West Midlands
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→
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.
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→
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.
A musical tribute to the 1978 version of Rochdale Bus Station
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→
Bus and light rail operations in Tynemouth and surrounding area
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)→