Skip-Stop Shake-Up Spells Shonky Saddleworth Rambler Rail Connections

Promising new shuttle service’s rail connections in tatters?

If you read our previous article on the forthcoming rail timetable, you may be wondering how this affects bus connections. Or rather, bus/rail connections with Saddleworth’s newest service.

One of the main selling points of Nexus Move’s 356 service is its ability to link up with Northern’s train service to Manchester Victoria. At present it offers decent connections with the all-stations service.

We said in our previous article on the new service that its rail connections could be stymied by this month’s new rail timetable. In some cases we were proved right.

For the first journey to Denshaw, Transpennine Express’ peak hour service to Huddersfield will arrive six minutes after the bus. The 356 will leave at 0730; Transpennine Express’ train to Leeds, 0736.

On the other hand, the 0730 to Denshaw comes off the southbound journey which arrives at 0726. Therefore it will meet up with the 0731 to Manchester Piccadilly and the 0736 (if you’re heading to Huddersfield, Dewsbury or Leeds). Thankfully, no such problems with the 0830 to Manchester Piccadilly.

In the PM peak, connection times between the 356’s arrival and the train’s arrival are a bit slack. The 1636 and 1737 trains to Leeds mean a 19 – 20 minute wait for the 356 (and a quick half in The Railway across the road).

The 1836 train to Leeds means a 49 minute wait till the next 356 journey to Denshaw. In other words, a quick pint instead of a swift half between modes. And more of the same with the 1936, 2036, and 2138 journeys. With the 2207 train to Hull Paragon, the connection time is a more agreeable 19 minutes. On Fridays and Saturdays, there is a 21 minute wait till the last 356 to Denshaw (departing from Greenfield station at 2325).

In the opposite direction to Manchester Piccadilly, the bus misses the train by a few minutes. The 1944 train from Leeds departs six minutes before the southbound 356’s arrival at 1952. Waiting time for the next train at 2047, 55 minutes. With the 2021 journey, a more modest 23 minutes till the 2047 train. Then a 21 minute wait for the 2144 and 2244 journeys to Manchester Piccadilly, based on the 356’s prompt arrival at 2121 and 2221.

The last journey of the 356, arriving in Greenfield station for 2321 has a tighter connection. A six minute wait for the 2327 journey to Manchester Piccadilly.

So on average, connections with the forthcoming skip-stop service and Nexus Move’s 356 service will drive you to drink. Thank goodness there’s a pub across the road from Greenfield railway station.

S.V., 12 May 2018.

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