Published by Railfuture

Railwatch is the quarterly magazine of Railfuture, which is free to members.

Non-members can subscribe to Railwatch, receiving it by post, by clicking

Railwatch 071 - April 1997

North West

By Robert Cummings

Virgin impact Virgin's entry into the railway business has heartened rail users in North West England. A promise of new rolling stock on Cross Country has been followed by an announcement that Virgin would double the frequency of Manchester-Birmingham trains and reintroduce direct services to Blackpool, deserted by InterCity back in 1992. A Blackpool North to Glasgow service will commence on 2 June 1997. Expect a huge launch! Services to Birmingham and the South West are expected to follow.

Rail users welcome closure The recent announcement that the single line between Kirkham and Blackpool South stations would close for eight weeks to allow the 12 miles of single track to be completely replaced with continuously welded rail has delighted users in the Fylde, despite the initial disruption that will be caused. The scheme is part of a £7 million investment in track improvements at up to 70 locations around the North West, removing speed restrictions and improving ride quality. The welded rail will dramatically improve services operated by the notoriously bouncy Pacer units to Blackpool South. The RDS-affiliated Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users Association has called on Railtrack to provide a passing loop along the line while the renewal is being carried out, allowing reliability to be improved and capacity to be doubled.

Dogged The Goyt Valley Rail Users Association has been awarded a grant of £100 by the RDS to launch a campaign to restore regular train services between Stockport and Stalybridge and provide a new service between Stockport and Marple on existing, under-utilised, lines. The route between Stockport and Stalybridge has a once weekly (in one direction only) ghost train service, on which the association organised a "mass" train ride of 28 people and three dogs to draw media attention to its potential.

Folk on line An initiative to entice more passengers on to lightly used evening services has proved remarkably successful with over 50 people riding on each of the two Folk Trains so far run between Manchester and Edale. A folk band plays in one carriage of the Hope Valley train to Sheffield. Alighting at Edale Station, band and audience continue the musical evening in an adjacent pub before returning on the last train. All for the price of a return ticket and a pint or two! The success of the event has encouraged the organisers to provide future Folk Trains, while looking to expand into Jazz Trains.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

[Issue 71 Index]

[Railwatch Home] [Prev Issue (70)] [Railwatch Issues] [RIS Progress Reports] [Next Issue (72)] [Railfuture Home]

Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.

Railfuture is the campaigning name of Railfuture Ltd.

A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.

Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only).

All other correspondence to 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND

© Copyright Railfuture Ltd 2021.

Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.

Privacy Statement

Click Privacy to read Railfuture's GDPR statement on how we treat your data.


This site does not use its own cookies, although Google Analytics does. The site is maintained for Railfuture by Billing Specialists Ltd.