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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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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Cars on Trains: The Wonders of Motorail

How we let the train take the strain – by carrying us and our cars at the same time

If we put our minds to it, we can let the train take the strain even more. Not only passengers from A to B, also our worldly goods like parcels, raw materials and fuel oil. For carrying heavy loads at once, nothing beats the goods train’s ability at taking more cars off the roads.

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When are the Last Trains to London?

Beat of the M60 finds an excuse to combine trains with music

“It was 9.29, 29… 9.29 back street, big city/The sun was going down, there was music all round, it felt so right.”

Last Train to London, Electric Light Orchestra (1979)

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‘Bridge Bi-Mode Breakthrough

Class 769 bi-mode trains reach Stalybridge

At 1714, arriving three years and nine minutes late on Platform 5 at Stalybridge station was the 1531 train from Southport to Stalybridge. Though the journey itself seems far from headline-grabbing, the kind of rolling stock and its delay is even more so.

Instead of the usual Class 150 Sprinter unit, the 1531 was operated by 769 442. The four-car unit is one of eight Northern trains that are bi-mode units.

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Class 142, Newton Heath depot

Back By Unpopular Demand: Northern’s Pacer Units

Nodding Donkeys ‘home’ till Christmas

Today, East of the M60 has learned that a small number of the universally derided Class 142 Pacer units will be making a comeback on Northern rail services. Thirteen of the units will be reinstated to provide extra capacity, and to ensure that social distancing practices will be maintained.

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D6700 Class 40, York (Image by Calflier001).

A Lost Train to London: The Highwayman

The cheap yet slow way of getting from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to London

Road and rail competition, whether private car versus train or scheduled coach versus train is far from new. The private car was, and remains, a threat to the viability of any communal transport options due to its convenience and perceived economy. The opening of the M1 and M6 motorways was also attractive for coach operators as well as motorists.

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Class 142, Newton Heath depot

Ten Things That Millennials Never Enjoyed About Train Travel: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten things about British rail travel that people born after 1980 never had the chance to enjoy or endure

For many passengers, today’s trains are shiny and efficient beasts. Some might say they are a little devoid of character. Sometimes they look scruffy or sport garish liveries.

In the space of forty years, the joys of British rail travel has changed beyond recognition. Besides preserved railways, today’s trains look more like buses or aeroplanes. There are some that look exactly like buses that are due to cease operation this year.

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Northern Nationalised: Franchise Transfers from Arriva Rail North to DfT

Northern franchise taken over by DfT as Operator of Last Resort from the 01 March

After several rumours and persistent lobbying by Northern English political figures in the last six months, it was announced today that Arriva lost its Northern rail franchise. Under the Anglo-German company’s tenure, the rail franchise was dogged by poor service, delayed rolling stock deliveries and gross overcrowding.

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Red Star Parcels totem, Guildford (image by Andrew Bowden, 2011).

Red Star: When Parcels by Rail Were Faster By Far

Who remembers Red Star Parcels when you could send your worldly goods by train?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, we used to deliver a lot of our post by rail. Before the late 1980s, our newspapers came by train. Such was the importance of Travelling Post Office trains, mail trains used to have priority above all other trains at the signal box. Both our newspapers and post rely on road transport, a retrograde step given present-day environmental concerns.

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