Stalybridge sees restoration of Liverpool to Scarborough express service
From Sunday [15 December], Stalybridge will regain its direct link with Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough. Before May 2018, Stalybridge station was served by an hourly service from Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough via Warrington Central and York. Since the infamous May 2018 timetable changes, this was discontinued with the service being partially replaced by two skip-stop trains from Manchester Piccadilly.
From that month forward, cancellations and delays have drastically risen. Delays caused by the postponement of Platform 15 and 16 of Manchester Piccadilly station and the Ordsall Curve have exacerbated this, causing a knock-on effect across the network. As a consequence, several express trains had been cancelled, or terminated short of their original journey. Many of which have used Stalybridge instead of Manchester Victoria or Piccadilly as the ‘last station stop’.
From the 15 December, Stalybridge will be served by two Transpennine Express trains per hour from Manchester Piccadilly station. The third TPE train will call at Manchester Victoria before continuing to Liverpool Lime Street. Therefore, the basic timetable will be as follows:
Revised Transpennine Express Stalybridge train timetable
Stalybridge to Huddersfield, Leeds, Hull Paragon, York and Scarborough
- Liverpool Lime Street (LIV) – Scarborough (SCA): 18 minutes to the hour;
- Manchester Piccadilly (MAN) – Hull Paragon (HUL): 10 minutes to the hour;
- Manchester Piccadilly (MAN) – Huddersfield (HUD): 12 minutes past the hour.
Stalybridge to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street
- Scarborough (SCA) – Liverpool Lime Street (LIV): 23 minutes to the hour;
- Hull Paragon (HUL) – Manchester Piccadilly (MAN): 17 minutes to the hour;
- Huddersfield (HUD) – Manchester Piccadilly (MAN): 22 minutes past the hour.
The end of skipstopageddon?
From Sunday, the universally reviled skip-stop nature of the Huddersfield to Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Piccadilly to Hull Paragon trains will be discontinued. Therefore, TPE’s service will call at all stops meaning the end of Kafkaesque journey times from Mossley (MSL) to Greenfield (GNF).
This should make for a more user-friendly timetable, but these changes wont be enough to convince its hapless commuters. Mossley and Slaithwaite (SWT) stations are the worst railway stations on Network Rail metals for punctuality and reliability. For many passengers from Greenfield and Mossley, the direct link with Ashton-under-Lyne (AHN) remains sorely missed.
Despite recent changes to its stopping pattern, Marsden (MSN) station will remain off-limits for wheelchair users and passengers with pushchairs. All southbound trains are pathed through Platform 2, which lacks the ramped access that Platform 3 has. To increase the ire of the Huddersfield line’s incandescent commuters, all Northern’s peak hour services under the pre-15 December 2019 timetable will be taken over by Transpennine Express.
The stopping service will leave Huddersfield at seven minutes to the hour, arriving in Manchester Piccadilly for twenty-one minutes to the hour. Return journeys will depart from Manchester Piccadilly at two minutes to the hour, arriving in Huddersfield for nineteen minutes to the hour. Hence:
Manchester Piccadilly to Huddersfield
- Manchester Piccadilly: 2 minutes to the hour;
- Stalybridge: 12 minutes past the hour;
- Mossley: 17 minutes past the hour;
- Greenfield: 22 minutes past the hour;
- Marsden: half past the hour;
- Slaithwaite: 26 minutes to the hour;
- Huddersfield: 19 minutes to the hour.
Huddersfield to Manchester Piccadilly
- Huddersfield: 7 minutes to the hour;
- Slaithwaite: on the hour;
- Marsden: 5 past the hour;
- Greenfield: 14 minutes past the hour;
- Mossley: 18 minutes past the hour;
- Stalybridge: 22 minutes past the hour;
- Manchester Piccadilly: 21 minutes to the hour.
To reflect these changes, the departure times of Nexus Move’s 356 Saddleworth Rambler service have also been changed. Buses to Denshaw will leave Greenfield at 0736 (SX), then five to the hour from 0855 to 1555, on the hour from 1700 to 2200 and 2325 (FO).
In the opposite direction, buses will arrive at 0735 (SX), 0835 (SX), 0850 (SO), then ten to the hour from 0950 to 1650. Subsequent journeys will arrive at Greenfield station at five to the hour from 1755 to 2255.
Northern services from Stalybridge
What about the StalyVegas Shuttle to Manchester Victoria? Well, there are no real changes compared with the May 2018 Grayling Amendment other than slight retimings.
The Wigan North Western service, once diagrammed for the forthcoming Class 769 bi-mode units, will see some changes. Instead of going through North Western (which was helpful for InterCity connections and local Preston trains), they will use Wigan Wallgate. Thereafter, they will continue to Southport.
Southport to Wigan Wallgate, Bolton, Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge
- Southport: 29 minutes to the hour;
- Wigan Wallgate: 8 minutes past the hour;
- Bolton: 26 minutes past the hour;
- Manchester Victoria: 7 minutes to the hour and 21 minutes past the hour;
- Ashton-under-Lyne: 3 minutes past the hour and 29 minutes to the hour;
- Stalybridge: 6 minutes past the hour and 25 minutes to the hour.
Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Wigan Wallgate and Southport
- Stalybridge: 29 minutes to the hour and on the hour;
- Ashton-under-Lyne: 25 minutes to the hour and 4 minutes past the hour;
- Manchester Victoria: 14 minutes to the hour and quarter past the hour;
- Bolton: 13 minutes past the hour;
- Wigan Wallgate: 24 minutes to the hour;
- Southport: 9 minutes past the hour.
We could safely say that the Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria Sunday trains will be cancelled and replaced by buses or coaches till kingdom come. Then again, who knows?
If in the unlikely event of there being any Sunday trains, they will leave Stalybridge at three minutes past the hour before arriving in Ashton-under-Lyne three minutes later. Instead of continuing to Southport, they will terminate at Wigan North Western. Another difference is the fact they will not be calling at Clifton, Kearsley, Farnworth, Moses Gate, and Ince stations.
Other Northern Services
There has been some slight retiming changes to the Manchester Piccadilly – Hadfield/Glossop and the Manchester Piccadilly – Rose Hill Marple/New Mills Central timetables.
As for the Stockport to Stalybridge route, which has the one return journey on Saturdays, the times have been changed. From Stockport, the Stalybridge train leaves an hour later (86 minutes later from Stalybridge) than under the previous timetable. The revised timetable is as follows:
- Stockport: 1043;
- Reddish South: 1048x;
- Denton: 1048x;
- Guide Bridge: arr. 1057, dep. 1058;
- Stalybridge: 1103.
In the opposite direction…
- Stalybridge: 1012;
- Guide Bridge: 1018;
- Denton: 1023x;
- Reddish South: 1026x;
- Stockport: 1033.
Please note that ‘x’ means this station is a Request Stop. To board, hail the oncoming train in the same way as you would if catching a bus.
Will the latest service changes improve reliability on our railway lines? We shall see. Somebody should sort out Marsden station as soon as possible and spend a few quid on improving overall accessibility along all three platforms.
S.V., 13 December 2019.