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Railwatch 072 - July 1997

North West

By Robert Cummings

Tram expansion Manchester's Metrolink has hogged the news recently. Work has started on the link to Salford Quays and Eccles and already the junction where the new line leaves the existing Altrincham line at Cornbrook is taking shape. Unfortunately time scales for the completion of the route are already slipping with Salford Quays expected to be open by 1999 and Eccles being reached in 2000. Unfortunately only six new vehicles are being bought for the new line and to strengthen existing services which are hopelessly overcrowded at peak times. Following a public enquiry, the extension to Manchester Airport has been given the go-ahead subject, of course, to finance being found. A public enquiry will shortly commence into the route of the line to Ashton-under-Lyne, which will also serve Manchester's new stadium. Given this stadium is to be the centrepiece of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, a start on this route needs to be made soon!

New stations On Merseyside three new stations are taking shape at Conway Park, Brunswick and Wavertree. Merseytravel should be congratulated on their efforts to build new stations in these uncertain times. North West Trains - the former North West Regional Railways - have proposed an additional two-hourly fast train from Liverpool to Manchester (via Earlestown), possibly from September. An additional hourly St Helens Central to Wigan Wallgate stopping train will run from May next year. Three additional diesel multiple units should allow extra trains to run between Manchester Victoria and Wigan/Preston (via Bolton) from June next year.

Dales demand A study carried out by consultants has identified a market for regular trains between Lancashire and Greater Manchester to the Settle-Carlisle line via Clitheroe. In the meantime the Sunday Dalesrail service continues until October. Once again a programme of guided walks has been arranged and a number of connecting buses are available. All are contained in the timetable leaflet produced by North Western Trains.

Showpiece The branch had a stand at Crewe Open Day on 3 May.

Cycle ride Riders from other parts of Britain headed from Preston to Southport on 14 June for the RDS sponsored cycle ride.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date.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

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