The trouble with our trains ….

Posted on November 9th, 2016, by The Chairman

Mike Battman writes ….

For those of you who missed the Panorama programme

Our Mid Cheshire Line featured!

Please leave a comment

  1. Richard Boyd Says:

    Interesting to see the CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, Paul “If you don’t like it move or go by car” Plummer making a bid for the most hated man in the country. Presumably his salary is such that he can afford to move to where travelling by train is still a pleasure and not an ordeal?

  2. Jen Says:

    I was checking the train running information first thing this morning (24/02) after so many services were cancelled yesterday and was surprised to see the 06:04 Chester to Manchester departed Chester 14 minutes late and then ran non-stop to Altrincham. Who thought missing out Greenbank, Northwich, Knutsford and Hale to allow the train to depart Altrincham on time was a good idea?

    I was also surprised yesterday that following an obstruction closing the line between Delamere and Chester in the evening peak, Northern didn’t decide to turn around any trains at Greenbank or Plumley and had a number of services sat at red signals in the Chester direction and no service for hours in the Manchester direction (until at 20:30 they did run a Greenbank to Manchester service.) They also told passengers (via the Journey Check site) there would be a replacement bus running between Chester and Altrincham leaving Chester at 18:30 but it never showed up.

  3. The Chairman Says:

    Hi, Jen,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I’ve fed these to Liam Sumpter, our Central Region Director, for his information. I think we all agree Thursday was not “handled” well, or even at all!

    I’ll post here related response(s) received.

    Best wishes,


  4. Jen Says:

    Poor planning from Northern today (with Chester races on):
    10:17 Manchester to Chester delayed by almost 25 minutes due to overcrowding.
    11:17 Manchester to Chester ran non-stop from Altrincham to Chester due to train being full

    I suppose it will be too much to expect any strengthening for the Tatton Flower Show starting on Wednesday.

  5. The Chairman Says:

    Northern’s new Events Manager knows of these events. Hence my surprise at seeing a single class 142 on the 07:17 Piccadilly to Chester in place of the diagrammed higher capacity class 150. Normally, this stays in the diagram all day, so I suspect the 11:17 was the same sole class 142.

    Add to this the planned engineering work between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester with buses running in their place. In our experience many people for Manchester will therefore leave the services off the North Wales Coast at Chester and travel to Manchester using our Mid Cheshire Line.

    Northern provided an extra train to cover for the non-stop 11:17 from Altrincham (2T01), leaving at Altrincham at 12:25 (actually left at 12:33) and calling all stations.

  6. The Chairman Says:

    I have just met an older chap at Mobberley who had been on the 11:17. He was on a day trip from Brighton to Mobberley, coming up here to see an old friend for lunch.

    Apparently, what happened was the train was rammed solid on leaving Stockport. Passengers were told this was due to Chester Races. When they arrived at Navigation Road station, they were told the train would now run non-stop to Chester, and any passengers not for Chester would have to wait at Navigation Road an hour for the next one, where he noted there were few seats and it was drizzling.

    Some passengers later found out there was an extra train running, but only from Altrincham. Some decided to walk to Altrincham, but many waited the hour in the drizzle for the following train.

  7. Charles F Says:

    Last Friday for the Lancs vs Yorks T20, they were leaving people behind. I hope Northern allow for the additional passengers for the upcoming Test match.

  8. Edd Says:

    Northern need to get Pacers off the 15:59 and 16:59 Chester to Manchester services ASAP, especially on Friday. Passengers can barely all fit on even when there’s no special events on. It’s all very well saying they’ll be more services in 9 months time but how many passengers will switch to driving in that time?

  9. Jen Says:

    According to Northern’s Twitter team there’s to be no strengthening of Mid Cheshire services for the RHS Tatton show.

  10. Simon Barber Says:

    In previous years I think there was a shuttle bus to the Tatton show from Knutsford station. It is not running this year but there are buses from Altrincham and Manchester Airport stations. Whether this is because Northern are not strengthening trains to Knutsford, or they are not strengthening them because the organisers are not encouraging travel via Knutsford station, I couldn’t say.

  11. Jen Says:

    Northern have made a last minute change and decided they could use the 2 x 150s usually sat at Buxton doing nothing between the morning and evening peak to strengthen a few services today including the 15:59 Chester to Manchester. Now if that service can be 4 car today why can’t it be 4 car all the time given the usual loading on that service?

    I think the decision to run the shuttle buses from the Knutsford gate rather than the station is down to Knutsford Town Council wanting to try and get the visitors to spend in the town.

  12. Andrew Macfarlane Says:

    The shuttle buses from Knutsford to the RHS Flower Show have always gone from the Knutsford entrance to Tatton Park at the west end of King Street (as they are doing this year). It would be better if they did go from the station. The shuttle buses to the Cheshire Show go from Knutsford station.

  13. Jen Says:

    I think at one stage the RHS shuttle did extend to the station. I mean going back as far as when Bakerbus ran normal summer weekend buses to Tatton Park, but didn’t run in to Tatton Park when the RHS show was on. I don’t think it’s run from the station since the floral walk was introduced.

  14. Jen Says:

    2016 Bake Off winner Candice Brown tweeted that she had to sit on the floor on a Northern service when travelling to Knutsford due to there being no seats. Given she has 80,000 followers on Twitter that’s not a good advert for the Mid-Cheshire line!

  15. Jen Says:

    The 2018 fares are now showing on It seems Northern think it’s acceptable to hike some off-peak day returns by over 10%, despite postponing service improvements! We also now seem to be one of the few routes where Northern haven’t introduced any cheap advance tickets.

  16. Peter Says:

    I’m not sure if this the right place to post this. Does anyone know why Northern aren’t running any trains at all on the Mid-Cheshire line this coming Saturday? I know there’s a strike happening but normally Northern manage to at least run a limited Chester to Altrincham service. Some people have tried asking Northern on Twitter including Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury but the Twitter team are ignoring the question.

  17. paul w Says:

    Shortage of managers / staff volunteers on a Bank Holiday weekend? Presume it only needs one or 2 stand-in guards to run the strike service?

  18. Peter Says:

    Buxton line is getting a full hourly train service, Southport to Wigan is getting a very limited train service, while we get a very limited replacement bus service. It seems Northern have prioritised providing a service on routes where there is an alternative (regular) bus service over ones where there isn’t.

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