A long day out on the longest day
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2023
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
21 June 2023
From Lime Street, we continued our journey on the
Merseyrail 3rd rail network, and its 40+ year old trains -
their replacements are already arriving. After a change at
Birkenhead North, to avoid being taken to New Brighton,
we arrived at Hoylake. Time for a leg-stretch along the
seafront, followed by a well-earned (we thought so…)
lunch near Meols station.
Our plans now went astray, but with a happy consequence.
Missing a train at Meols by mere seconds, we eventually
arrived at Hamilton Square, where we found that the next
train to Chester was cancelled. With onward connections in
doubt, we decided to return via Lime Street to Crewe.
Unfortunately, due to a fatality on the track, there were
cancellations, delay and the likelihood of a packed train.
We headed back to Manchester (via Warrington) instead!
This was the right decision - the next Crewe-bound train
from Piccadilly was one of the loco-hauled Transport for
Wales services, heading for Cardiff - a very quiet, smooth
and comfortable ride in MkIV luxury. Sadly, it wouldn’t be
calling at Nantwich - we had to change at Crewe into the
“stopper”, another class 150. Rolls-Royce to roller-skate!
A Cheshire Day Ranger outing. We left Nantwich a little
earlier than intended, by catching a late-running Cardiff-
Manchester service. It was going to be turned back at
Wilmslow, though the on-train announcements insisted it
would call at Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly and
Bodorgan (make of that what you will!). We left the train at
Crewe anyway, to take a run to Chester, on one of the
brand-new class 197 DMUs (a very quiet and smooth run,
though the springs seem a little hard)
At Chester, we joined a DMU at the other end of the
spectrum - an aging and noisy class 150, at least 36 years
old - for a ride to Manchester along the old Cheshire Lines
route through Northwich. It would, of course, leave that
route at Altrincham (Navigation Road) to head for Piccadilly
via Stockport - the old route now being a tramway.
From Piccadilly, another cl 197 took us to Earlestown: we
left the train to have a look at the station. In 1837 the
triangular layout formed the junction between the Liverpool
and Manchester and the Grand Junction from Birmingham.
We weren’t there long - a class 331 EMU was soon
whisking us on to Liverpool Lime Street.