Lanky lines for a tenner
Another Northern Day
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2019
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
9 October 2019
Today we’re exploring lines to the north of Manchester, using another of those £10 day rover tickets. It’s only valid on Northern Rail services, so a little ingenuity is required in route-planning, but that’s part of the fun - especially when one of us (I have to put my hand up) contrived to lose an hour in the process… Nevertheless, we manage to arrive at Blackpool, after an interesting journey where we abandoned one train at Alderley Edge, only to have to get on it again at Piccadilly, to take us the few yards to Oxford Road, where we boarded one of the new 195 units (it had been “turned back” there) for a comfortable ride to Preston. The line to Blackpool North is now electrified: all the trains visible at the seaside station were electric - apart from our train, a class 158 diesel… There have been electrically-powered rail vehicles in Blackpool for many years, of course - and their tramway is being extended, from a new junction by the North Pier to the railway station. It appears to be complete - apart from a “Wilko” store straddling the tracks. (Irresistable forces and unmoveable objects come to mind) It’s a blustery, showery day, but we miss most of the rain -
just a few spots in the wind. There’s plenty of sunshine too, along the coastal tramway, though the sun seems to go in every time a tram comes along. We take a peek through the wire fence at the “heritage” trams in their shed at the end of Blundell St, before arriving at Blackpool South, nicely in time for the 13.13 departure. It’s a class 142 “Pacer”, complete with original bus seats, and it’s going to take us from this little single-track terminus to another, nearly two hours away. Do we deserve medals? Perhaps not - the ride isn’t bad on mostly long-welded rail, and our view is not restricted by heavy pillars and high seat backs. As we approach Colne, there are pleasantly rural views to Pendle Hill - where the rain clouds seem to be gathering. Happily, we arrive during a dry spell, so we’ll take a photo or two before rejoing the train back to Rose Grove, where the scene has changed somewhat since steam days. Here, we catch a Blackburn to Manchester train - a relatively new service which takes us over Copy Pit to Todmorden (we’re in Yorkshire briefly!), and on down through Rochdale to Victoria, for a walk (interrupted by a well-earned if expensive pint) to Piccadilly, for the 18.01 to Crewe and homewards. It’s been an interesting and varied day out - and excellent value too.
It's not all-electric yet... We are Northern! 319374 - it's electric! ...and there's a Pendolino too An irresistable force? Immovable? The new junction Classic Blackpool with modern tram Tower and tramway Golden Mile Tower and tram Is it a boat? Is it a train? Blackpool's heritage Familiar front-ends Blackpool South Pacer at Blackpool South... ...has arrived at Colne The rurality is deceptive Rose Grove For Manchester via Copy Pit (cameo role - thanks, JN)