Posts Tagged ‘Rail’

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)

Salford Central Station

November 8th, 2011 No comments

Arches underneath Salford Central Station platforms.

Salford Central Station

Buxton Spa Express approaches Bolton

November 5th, 2011 No comments

LMS Class 5MT 4-6-0 44871 and 45407 hauling a double header steam special “Buxton Spa Express” between Lostock and Bolton on Saturday 5th November 2011.

Buxton Spa Express Double Header 44871 and 45407

60163 “Caledonian Tornado” through Clifton Station

September 21st, 2011 No comments

Lostock to lose ticket office?

September 5th, 2011 No comments

Lostock Station - - 1221223Following my posts on Blackrod Station being treated as a poor relation to Lostock Station, it now appears that, as a category E station, Lostock could be set to lose its ticket office.

Oddly, a category E station is classed as one that is staffed and handling more that 250,000 passengers per annum. By contrast, Blackrod is classified as category F1 (unstaffed with fewer than 250,000 passengers). With 388,000 passengers served, this classification justs makes the lack of a ticket office even more ludicrous.

A full list of stations and their categories can be seen here.

FixMyTransport – Blackrod Station service and amenities

August 30th, 2011 No comments

A new website has launched today, from the creators of TheyWorkForYou and FixMyStreet, comes FixMyTransport which as well as letting you report issues, allows you to open up an issue for wider support/discussion.

Further to my post about how Blackrod Station is treated as Lostock’s poor relation, I have created a page about the lack of service and amenities at Blackrod Station.

If you feel the same way, please support it.

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

Following in the tracks of the Victorians

April 9th, 2011 No comments

Today, with the beautiful weather, we took a trip to Hollingworth Lake near Littleborough and Smithy Bridge, somewhere I had never been before.

Hollingworth Lake

158755 at Smithy BridgeRather than jumping in the car, however, we decided to take the train. At £5.80 return for two adults and one child with a family railcard (under fives still free) that wouldn’t even cover the current extortionate cost of the diesel, let alone wear and tear and the pay and display parking at the lake. It is of course a little slower but that was not an issue today.

Hollingworth Lake is actually a reservoir built in 1804 to feed the Rochdale Canal but later became a tourist attraction for the Victorians and I realised that today, by choosing rail, we were following in the tracks of the same Victorians who would have visited by rail in the latter half of the 19th century. After closure in 1960, Smithy Bridge was reopened in 1985 and is fairly well served with a half-hourly service between Manchester Victoria and Leeds; a pity the same cannot be said for our local station, Blackrod.

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.

Blackrod Station sidelined again

November 14th, 2009 No comments

Blackrod StationAccording to the Bolton News, six railway station in Bolton have been identified by Network Rail as those most in need of improvement. Not surprisingly, once again, Blackrod station is missing from that list. (Full National list here)

Can someone please explain why Lostock station, which has both a ticket office and live train information screens, is on the list of six stations earmarked for improvements, when Blackrod with neither of these basic facilities is not? I’m not saying Lostock should not receive investment (particularly in reinstating the Wigan platforms short-sightedly removed in the past) but surely Blackrod station is in more need.

Given the lack of respect Blackrod station is given on the timetabled service, the cynic in me would guess that secretly Network Rail will be thinking “Why spend money on a station we’re trying to close down by reducing the service?”.

Network Rail are running a survey about station improvements. If you feel Blackrod (or an other station) deserves better, go to and make your views known.