Manchester Piccadilly Station Gets Its 15th and 16th Platforms At Last!

New plan solves through platform nightmare in considerably less time than anticipated

After years of limbo and rejection, Manchester Piccadilly will be getting its 15th and 16th platforms earlier than you think. By the time HS2 opens, it will be getting another two platforms taking it up to 18.

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The Shape of Memes to Come!

Brian Moore’s Almanack looks at what could be the shape of memes to come

If you have spent the last twenty years of your life in front of a computer screen, tablet or smartphone, you will have seen many a social media channel or fad come and go. When I dipped my toe into the world of SEO and content creation nearly two decades ago, you shared things by email attachments. There was chatrooms – ICQ, AOL and newsfeeds – and Friends Reunited. Then MySpace came along in 2005, taking us to what was known as Web 2.0, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

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Northern Powerhouse Rail: Railing Against a Lack of Ambition

In 2015 we were promised hoverboards, but Stalybridge had Pacer units instead (Shapps 4′ 8″ Remix)

In a professional capacity, Preston has become my second home. I know almost every nook and cranny of its railway station. On some occasions I hope for a slack connection, so I could do a bit of spotting between trains. In the last six months, I have seen many a passing Pendolino, many a diesel, electric and bi-mode unit, and the odd goods train.

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All Night Long Advent Calendar image

Greater Manchester’s Most Shocking Bus Service Changes Since 1986: The Not So Perfect Ten

A look at the service changes that have shaken our city region’s bus network forever

We are now 35 years into what Andy Burnham called The Free Market Experiment.  As with any free market experiment, there is a smaller number of winners than losers.  Before the first lockdown, having a bus company and a rail franchise was a licence to print money for some operators.  

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Hyde North station by Rept0n1x, 2013 (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Greater Manchester’s Rail Fares: An Un-Fare Advantage?

How an £8.00 ticket caused a fuss over London and Manchester rail fares

Take one single train ticket, then add the most powerful elected mayor outside of London. Introduce another single train ticket for a journey within Greater London. Simmer for 24 hours or more on social media then add to existing North-South Divide and Us Versus London arguments till the end of time.

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Fun With Bus Route Branding

A fun little article on How to brand or rebrand our bus routes

One of the key parts of the Department for Transport’s National Bus Strategy is local branding based on community focus instead of operational needs. At present, there are some examples of best practice with Transdev and The Go-Ahead Group marketing its bus routes under memorable names. So much so that passengers are able to remember their bus routes by name instead of number.

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Leyland Titan, Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally, 2013.

Bus Back Better: Towards a Second Bus Renaissance?

With the possibility of bus franchising in Greater Manchester and improved local networks, has the government fallen in love with our buses?

There are four things that the creator of this blog shares with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, otherwise known as Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP. One of them is a lackadaisical approach to haircare, plus we share the same horoscope (both myself and the PM are Geminis). We also have impeccable taste in doggies with Jack Russell Terriers. The fourth one is a love of buses.

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Holy Island, 2015

A Northern Wake-Up Call: IPPR North Report Confirms Westminster Failings

How COVID-19 has intensified inequalities in Northern England

This week, IPPR North’s report The State of the North has confirmed what many Northerners have known since the height of Thatcher’s term in office. With Brexit and COVID-19, the North-South divide has grown dramatically – to a point that the gap between South East England and North West England could be akin to that of West Germany and East Germany prior to reunification.

Before last week, one of the few things that set Northern England apart from the South East of England was consigned to history forever. If you wanted to know where the North of England really began, it was at the most southerly terminus of a rail service that was served by Class 142 Pacer units. With franchised buses as part of a fully integrated transport system, Greater London feels like another planet compared with Greater Manchester.

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Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, 11 October 2009

What Has the North Done For Us?

Quite a lot to be honest!

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (widescreen)
The iconic Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Imagine a world without Northern England. It would be a dull place devoid of The Beatles, iconic suspension bridges, daft footballers, and railway lines. Prior to the late 1970s, we were the manufacturing heart of the world. We built bridges, ships, made cutlery and built the world its locomotives and carriages. Today, most of what manufacturing capacity we had has been eviscerated by London-centric governments and globalisation. Prior to the mid 1980s, we kept most of our country’s power stations ticking over and our houses warm, before they closed down the pits and started importing its coal.

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Hyde North station by Rept0n1x, 2013 (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Rose Hill Marple Rail Services Saved From Temporary Axe

People power helps to save important rail service that links Hyde with Marple

From the 14 September, rail passengers in Hyde, Woodley and Marple would have been left high and dry by temporary changes to their rail service. In just over a week’s time, there would have been no trains from Rose Hill Marple apart from a once weekly parliamentary service. This would have meant more traffic congestion, little scope for social distancing on alternative routes, and more finicky journeys.

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