Posts Tagged ‘Blackrod’

Daft UK Rail Ticket Rule

March 14th, 2015 No comments

A relative came down from Glasgow yesterday to attend an event in the middle of Manchester, so had purchased a return ticket to Manchester Piccadilly. Heading home today, she had originally planned to get a train from Blackrod or Horwich in to Manchester to catch her return train. Unfortunately with the current engineering work on the line it meant replacement buses, which even if they actually turn up means a 30 min train journey becomes an hour and a quarter. We therefore decided that a better option was to drive her in to Manchester (a return journey for me that was still quicker than the one-way bus journey).

What is ridiculous though, is that the better solution would have been to take her to Wigan North Western station, as the train she had a ticket for, called at Wigan on the way to Glasgow. National Rail, however, has a condition which reads as follows:

Break of journey
You may not start, break and resume, or end your journey at any intermediate station except to change to/from connecting trains as shown on the ticket(s) or other valid travel itinerary.

Now I can understand that it would be wrong to purchase a ticket and then want to stop off somewhere to carry out some business for a few hours and then carry on, but when you have purchased a ticket for a seat from Manchester to Glasgow, getting on at Wigan (especially when the reason is due to an inconvenience cause by the rail companies in the first place) is not using any extra service, it’s actually less. It would only make sense if the ticket for a shorter journey actually cost more (although nothing would surprise me with the illogical ticket pricing we have in the UK)


January 16th, 2012 No comments

End of the Line

November 27th, 2011 No comments

Crown Lane/Vale Avenue Weight Restrictions

November 15th, 2011 No comments

In 2006, prompted by residents’ concerns about the level and speed of HGV traffic on Crown Lane, Horwich, Bolton Council instigated an experimental weight limit on Crown Lane coupled with two sets of congestion creating, sorry ‘traffic calming’ chicanes.

Fortunately, six months later after causing long queues on Crown Lane, the chicanes were removed, however the experimental weight limit was made a permanent order (shown in red on the map below).

The effectiveness of this weight restriction has in reality been rather limited and has unfortunately had an unintended side effect.

Crown Lane from Tanners Brow

In 2007 at the time of the review of the experimental limit, two of the firms on Crown Lane who use HGVs, objected to the weight limit. Bolton Council quite rightly pointed out that the limit would not affect them as it only restricted through traffic. Access to premises on Crown Lane is still permitted, and here’s the first issue – The majority of the HGV traffic that uses Crown Lane, does so to access premises on Crown Lane and has not been reduced by the weight limit being imposed. There was very little through traffic to remove.

The existence of this limit has also had a side effect. Prior to the introduction of the weight limit on Crown Lane there was a pre-existing limit on Mason Street/Vale Avenue (shown in blue on the map above). The addition of the newer limit on Crown Lane has effectively created a larger limit which has merged with that on Vale Avenue. Although technically two separate limits, I have noticed an increase in HGVs using Mason Street/Vale Avenue to access premises on Crown Lane. Bolton Council state that “Enforcement of weight limits is a matter for the police. However, the police have limited resources to enforce this type of restriction”. Even if the police do stop a HGV driver on Vale Avenue, he can innocently claim that his destination is within the extent of the weight limit.

From the map above, it is clear that the businesses that are the origin and destination of the HGV traffic (shaded yellow) are all at the SW end of Crown Lane/Station Road. If the Council’s intention really was to limit the amount of HGV traffic on Crown Lane, then they should have restricted the weight limit to north of Vale Avenue. That would have been extremely effective at cutting HGV traffic past the residential properties on Crown Lane but would have meant HGVs travelling ‘the long way round’ via the narrow Blackrod Station railway bridge, the A6, De Havilland Way and Chorley New Road, adding to congestion on that route.

Crown Lane is after all a classified road (the B5238), intended to link Horwich to Blackrod. Unlike Mason Street/Vale Avenue, it is not a minor road being used as a rat-run; at the same time I sympathise with Crown Lane residents as it was not built to handle the traffic from the over-development (both commercial and residential) at the southern end of Crown Lane/Station Road.

I do not feel that the limit on Crown Lane achieves any material benefit; the vast majority of HGV traffic using Crown Lane is legally exempt and the existence of the limit undermines the effectiveness of the previously existing limit on Vale Avenue/Mason Street.

Haigh, Aspull & Blackrod Vintage Ploughing Match

September 25th, 2011 No comments

The Haigh, Aspull & Blackrod Vintage Ploughing match was held today at Brinsop Hall Farm, Westhoughton. Having passed the sign on the A6 (right), I was curious and went along.

The competition is divided into six classes: trailer ploughs, vintage hydraulic, classic, novice, juniors (13-18 year olds) and Ferguson tractor & plough.

More photos are available on my flickr account.

Blackrod Bypass Northbound Closure

September 15th, 2011 No comments

remind me to buy Bolton Council a spirit level for XmasExpect fun and games in the next few weeks as Blackrod Bypass will be closed northbound from the junction with Manchester Road into Blackrod and the junction with Station Road (see map).

Bolton Council’s roadworks bulletin is currently listing the closure dates as Monday 26th September to Friday 11th November.

The diversion is through Blackrod which already struggles to cope with traffic in the morning and evening. Southbound traffic is unaffected.

View Blackrod Bypass Closure in a larger map

The closure is required to complete the resurfacing work that has already been carried out on the section of bypass to the north of Station Road.

June/July Events in Horwich and Blackrod (2011)

June 13th, 2011 No comments

Horwich Carnival RacesThree dates for your diaries on the next three weekends if you live in Horwich or Blackrod.

Horwich Festival of Racing – 19th June

Following last year’s event taking place on a different weekend to the Horwich Carnival, Horwich Carnival Races has changed its name to Horwich Festival of Racing and will be be held this year on Sunday 19th June.

According to the new website, the change in title “reflects that it now takes place on a different weekend to the Carnival and further embraces both sporting excellence and community participation across a range of events and activities.”

Various running and cycling races for different ages and abilities, both serious and fun are held on the streets of Horwich and this year’s timetable is here. A handful of photos from a few years ago are here. A number of road closures will be in place for the races.

Horwich Carnival & Parade – 26th June

Horwich Carnival Parade will be held this year on Sunday 26th June from 12pm.

Blackrod Scarecrow Festival – 2nd/3rd July

Blackrod’s annual Scarecrow Festival will be held on Sat/Sun 2nd/3rd July. Scarecrows are scattered around the gardens and businesses of Blackrod; you can pick up a map on the day.

Blackrod Scarecrows

Blackrod Station – Lostock’s poor relation

June 10th, 2011 1 comment

I see that Blackrod Station is finally getting better access to both platforms, but I can’t help feeling that this is only being done because they are obliged to under DDA regulations.

Below are the passenger figures for Blackrod, Horwich and Lostock for the past six years1.

Blackrod Lostock Passenger Figures

Can someone please explain why, when Blackrod handles almost double the passengers handled by Lostock, Blackrod Station has no ticket office (or even a simple ticket machine) and no live information signs yet Lostock has both of these and enjoys twice as many calling services as Blackrod.

[1] Office of Rail Regulation – Station Usage Data

6201 Princess Elizabeth Cumbrian Mountain Express

August 14th, 2010 No comments

6201 Princess Elizabeth heading north past the site of the ‘Horwich South Fork’ signal box and former Hilton House line junction with the Cumbrian Mountain Express Railtour.

6201 Princess Elizabeth - Cumbrian Mountain Express

and the return through Blackrod Station

This photo and these videos have also been added to the railtour section of the Horwich Station website.

Dickinson’s Fire, Blackrod

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

One of the buildings at Dickinson’s (Station Road, Blackrod) has been ablaze this evening sending a large plume of black smoke across Bolton. At the height of the fire, Greater Manchester Fire Service had eight fire appliances and two aerial platforms in attendance with the support of two appliances from neighbouring Lancashire Fire Service.

Dickinson's Fire
Dickinson's Fire from Moss Lane Dickinson's Fire Fire Engines arriving at Dickinson's Fire, Station Road

More photos on my Flickr account and also some taken looking down from Blackrod on the Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Action Group site.

More details on the Bolton News Website, who have also published four of my photos.