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.

Continue reading “What Has the North Done For Us?”

Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten key characteristics of Serco/Abellio’s 12-year franchise term

Class 158, platform 2, Preston railway station
The Class 158 DMU, one of Northern Rail’s more classy rolling stock, seen at Preston station. Alongside its incumbent 158s, there will be further examples, cascaded from Scotrail. These will be diagrammed for Arriva Trains North’s Northern Connect express services.

By the start of next month, the Northern franchise will be taken over by Arriva/Deutsche Bahn Rail. This will be Arriva’s second stint with a Northern English heavy rail franchise (the previous being Arriva Trains Northern) and, most notably, it entails the withdrawal of Class 142 and Class 144 railbuses. Continue reading “Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Now You Know What I Did This Summer (2015 Edition)

Bus and light rail operations in Tynemouth and surrounding area

Arriva Northumbria Wright StreetLite NK64 EEZ, Tynemouth
The second biggest operator in Tynemouth: Arriva Northumberland, represented by a Wright StreetLite at its terminus by Tynemouth Park. Later, this would return to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a westbound journey of the 306 service.

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)”

Countdown to Black Monday, 08 September 2014: Your Questions Answered

Everything you need to know about changes to evening peak fares this coming month

Class 153, Manchester Victoria, Platform 2
Another export from Workington: this stunning Class 153 which came from the same Lillyhall plant as your beloved Pacer unit in the previous article. Here’s the old roof, which is being dismantled and replaced by a new one. Paid for by yours truly, the squeezed commuter and even more squeezed casual traveller.

On hearing about the changes covered in our previous article, we at East of the M60 were aggrieved to say the least. Incensed because of the effects it would have on casual travellers. Fuming over this sanction being the most retrograde rail development in Greater Manchester since the arrival of the Class 142 Pacer unit. Continue reading “Countdown to Black Monday, 08 September 2014: Your Questions Answered”

DfT Imposes Evening Peak Restrictions on Northern Rail Users

Price of a cheap day trip set to double in September

  • Evening Ranger tickets face abolition;
  • Blow for Northern English nighttime economy;
  • Changes set to boost Metrolink patronage and increase road congestion.

Class 142 Pacer DMU, Manchester Piccadilly, post-rush hour
See this Pacer unit here: you’ve paid for this when it was one of many Leyland’s Nationals from Workington. Then you paid for British Rail to convert it into a DMU. Guess what? From early September, you’ll be paying even more for it if you wish to travel after 4pm!

From the 08 September, the price of a short train journey between 4.00 to 6.30pm is set to double on weekdays. Passengers wishing to travel by train throughout the Transport for Greater Manchester, Metro West Yorkshire and Travel South Yorkshire will be unable to use Off-Peak Day Return tickets during the evening peak. Continue reading “DfT Imposes Evening Peak Restrictions on Northern Rail Users”