Mid Cheshire Minor Timetable Changes from 9 December 2012 ….

Posted on November 14th, 2012, by The Chairman

As well as the return to the normal “non-leaf fall” timetable from 9 December, we’re delighted to see two changes we have lobbied for (and one we haven’t!)

The new timetables for Northern Rail and Arriva Trains Wales, commencing 9 December, are now on their web sites..

As usual, Mid Cheshire line services revert to the normal timetable, i.e. accelerated by four minutes on the assumption that the leaf-fall season has finished.

However, there are some significant other changes.

• Mondays to Saturdays daytime off-peak trains to Manchester (but not from Manchester) will stop additionally at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme. This is indicated only by a footnote in leaflet 17 but none of Northern Rail’s leaflets give the calling times. From previous occasions when these stops have been included, the times are likely to be 4 and 8 minutes after departing Stockport. Arrival times at Manchester Piccadilly are unchanged as the previous allowance from Stockport was quite slack.

• The 2107 from Chester (Mondays to Fridays) now departs at 2133 as on Saturdays. This introduces a connection with the 1921 from Holyhead. It also means there are much better return evening times from stations along the line, e.g. 2215 instead of 2149 from Knutsford giving time to get back to the station after a visit to the cinema

• The first Sunday train from Chester has been put back to 0901 so it connects with the 0856 Merseyrail arrival, the first from the Wirral, omitting Lostock Gralam and Ashley in order to be in Manchester at the same time. This re-connects the Wirral with our line much earlier on a Sunday morning, as currently Wirral people can’t get to Delamere Forest until just before lunchtime

• Sunday trains in 2013 are not through to or from Southport until 17 February.

We were asked about the Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme stops in advance and took the view that so long as the long-awaited change in the sectional running times took place, we had no objection. However, these haven’t taken place, so this will probably mean our very busy 1607 from Chester will run even later, which impacts on the 1817 back to Chester as the same driver takes it back after a break, as well as affecting the very busy 1707.

Thanks to David Miller for researching this.

Please leave a comment

  1. Charles Frankland Says:

    Hopefully the improved service on the Sunday will increase usage and maybe, just maybe, allow an hourly service to be run.

  2. Jen Says:

    Will the 08:07 and 16:07 Chester-Manchester services remain as Pacers from the December 2012 timetable change? If so I can’t see them having enough spare room for all the Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme passengers.

    One thing that confuses me a bit is why is there only two services from Chester after the 20:07 given that the Northern units and crews are based at Manchester? I appreciate that they can return to Manchester faster via Warrington but is there not a case for running a semi-fast via Altrincham instead in revenue service opposed to sending a train back empty and taking no fares?

  3. The Chairman Says:

    Hi, Jen!

    I think the 0807 should be fine. From our “in progress” passenger counts, it loads to about 70 into Altrincham, but only to about 50 after Stockport.

    We don’t have figures for the 1607 yet on that part of the line, but as a guide, the 1707 which seems to load similarly loads to 121 into Altrincham, but only 67 after Stockport.

    Thus there should be space.

    Good question about after 2007. The 2107 is operated by the conductor off the 1758 from Stockport, with the conductor from the 1917 from Picc travelling “assist”, (i.e having a chat). The Victoria driver off the 1758 goes back to Manchester on an ATW service. The 2248 is operated by the crew off the 2017 from Picc. The traincrew off the 2117 onwards arrive in Chester too late to work a train back. In practice those off the 2117 due to arrive 2245 try very hard to arrive early, so they can go back on the 2248. If they miss it, which they often do, they go back on an ATW service, or in a taxi if the ATW service isn’t running due to engineering work over Chat Moss. The crew off the 2317 go back with the empties, which given the current Chat Moss closures for the electrification work now usually come up the Mid Cheshire line and stable in Stockport carriage sidings.

  4. Edd Says:

    Having seen the 16:07 Chester-Manchester squeal in to Altrincham on quite a few occasions when I’ve been waiting for the 17:14 at Altrincham towards Chester, it does seem to be busy both on arrival and departure from Altrincham. There are quite often people standing when it’s leaving Altrincham but with it quite often being operated by a Merseytravel Pacer they might find that more comfortable than sitting. BTP also use that train quite frequently to return after patrolling Altrincham around school finishing time.

    The idea relating to catching the train after going to Knutsford cinema seems to work with the current schedule. Skyfall finishes around 9:55pm. Although, soon after the timetable change The Hobbit will be released which has a 3hr15 running time!

  5. Edd Says:

    I see Curzon (the new owners of Knutsford cinema) are to aim for two nightly screenings – one at 6pm and the other at around 8.15pm so if the latter is around 2 hours in length it doesn’t make it possible to get back for the re-timed 22:15 train any more or the last weekday town circular bus either!

  6. Jen Says:

    Relating to Sunday services I’ve just seen the following on the Cycletta Cheshire website relating to getting to an event on Sunday 7th October starting at 9am

    “TRAVEL BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Knutsford Railway Station is situated approximately half a mile from the Knutsford entrance to Tatton Park. You can walk in through the main gates and down the estate drive (2 miles from the Station) to the Cycletta Village and event start area. Unfortunately the earliest train arriving at Knutsford Station gets in too late to start the event but any spectators looking to arrive after the event starts could use this option.”

  7. Jen Says:

    Open Train Times is showing that all Chester-Manchester services that call at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme will depart Chester 4 minutes earlier from the May timetable change, but the ones that don’t remain unchanged. It looks like they’ve done this so that services stopping at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme are more evenly spaced out but it will mean a shorter turnaround time at Chester (so less chance of delays being recovered) and will also mean connections from Merseyrail services will be less good.

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