Live Train Running now on Northern TVMs ….

Posted on May 26th, 2014, by The Chairman

The Mid Cheshire Line is one of the busiest lines in the country to have hardly any Customer Information Systems (CIS) at stations. Apart from stations shared with other lines, only Altrincham has CIS displays.

Now Northern has introduced train running information on their Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) screens, so for the Mid Cheshire Line this brings a form of CIS to Greenbank, Knutsford and Northwich.

Here’s an example from last Friday.


The 0759 Chester – Piccadilly was late as it had run over some tree branches just prior to Mickle Trafford during the windy weather that morning. Yes – the system says there are no delays, but then shows the train as running 14 minutes late. I think by “no delays” it means no serious delays.

There are also messages that are displayed the same as those on Northern’s website.


This example is from Tuesday 13 May when due to a train fault, small 2-car unit 142029 had been substituted in place of the diagrammed 2-car Class 150 onto the 0717 Piccadilly – Chester “Sardines Express”, the train that loads to around 270 passengers into Knutsford with large numbers of scholars and Barclays Bank, Radbroke Hall workers. Luckily, everyone managed to get on, with many of the 5th and 6th formers being off on study leave.

So now you know what the message means!

This “TVM” system is good, but proper CIS at all our stations as seen in much of the rest of Britain is what we want. This is what we have put in our aspirations for the coming replacement Northern franchise.

Please leave a comment

  1. Andrew Macfarlane Says:

    Surely there is strong case for the busier stations on the line to get CIS screens as part of the current Direct Award if 100 additional stations on Northern are to get them.

  2. Henry Brooks – Tatton Estate Says:

    Many people probably know this already, but I find the Virgin Trains iPhone app with live departures really useful as it shows pretty much what would be on the CIS screens if there were any!

  3. Edd Says:

    The disadvantage of this is that passengers waiting for Chester bound platforms can’t go across to check the information if it’s gone past the arrival time of the train and the train hasn’t yet arrived.

    I agree with Andrew, Northern apparently manage 462 stations and a number of them already have CIS so stations like Knutsford, Northwich, Hale and Greenbank should be prime candidates for getting CIS.

  4. Edd Says:

    I noticed today the live running information doesn’t appear to be on the TVM at Northwich. It still shows ‘most popular tickets’ as the default display, unlike the one at Knutsford which shows the train running information as the default display.

  5. Edd Says:

    A small live running display has appeared under the canopy on the Manchester bound platform at Knutsford and another one under the shelter on the Chester bound platform. The displays can show two lines of text so the second line alternates between displaying the calling pattern of the next train and showing the times of later departures. They’ve not added displays near the station entrances showing departures for all platforms, like most stations with CIS have.

    Nothing at Northwich yet.

  6. Harry Boardman Says:

    I was told last week by the Northern Rail Stations Manager for Northwich that “he believes the CIS screens are scheduled for installation in November”.
    As for Greenbank,I requested by email an update from the Greenbank Stations Manager (not the same person) 3 weeks ago on when to expect installation of the CIS screens. I am still waiting for a reply.
    No rush then by Northern Rail.

  7. Jen Says:

    While the addition of CIS at Knutsford is welcome I think the actual system fitted is disappointing considering from December 2017 they’ll be 2tph from each platform with calling patterns varying between services. The CIS is also able to provide automated announcements informing passengers of delays, I’ve not heard it give out any announcements other than when there has been a delay.

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