Yes, for 9 days from Saturday, travelling to and from work will become even more of a challenge than normal, or maybe not? Why, because the line between Huddersfield and Manchester will be closed, while dramatic work goes on to improve Stalybridge Station.
According to talk, and until the government change their minds, and decide we cant afford it, by the end of this decade (allegedly by about 2016, but…) the line between Manchester and York is going to be electrified, bringing faster, and more reliable trains to the cross pennine link. Also more trains an hour, though I dont see how they do that with the stopping trains serving stations both sides of Huddersfield to be honest, thrown into the mix.
Also, given the trains on our line go on to serve Liverpool and Manchester Airport at one end (neither electrified as far as I know), and Hull, Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Newcastle at the other (only Newcastle on a fully electrified line), I’m not sure how they are planning the timetables for all this? Unless TPE serve them as 2 limbs, with diesel trains, well I dont know? Seems unlikely, so… you tell me! The big snag as I see it, is currently while diesel trains can be diverted on to other local lines, electric trains wont be able to do so. So given that will mean buses, instead of slightly longer diversion routes, well that isnt going to speed things up!
Anyway, back to the issue in hand. Despite all these question marks, they’ve decided that Stalybridge Station needs an upgrade in advance of all this. Maybe it does, I’ve only ever passed through the station, so I have no idea. Seems OK for the amount of trains stopping there, but anyway… The snag is, to finish these works, they need no trains passing through for a while, so this is why chaos will rule for 9 days. Basically no trains will run through Stalybridge, so of the 4 trains an hour (daytime service) that wend between Manchester Picadilly and Leeds, 2 will run via the Calderdale loop from Manchester Victoria, and 2 will only run to Huddersfield. So yes, thats half my train service gone for a week lol. Mind, Manchester suffers the same fate, so…
The worst bit for me though, is going to be reliability. You see, there is 1 of those 4 Eastern links, to and from which train punctuality is a joke, Hull. And guess which one of the services we are stuck with, yes, thats one of them! The other snag for me, is that my main trains are the ones at 27 and 57 minutes past the hour, and guess what, they are the 2 that are vanishing for the week! Equally, coming home, its the 25 and 55, and yes, you’ve worked it out already lol. So journeys are going to take longer, probably be less reliable, so all in all, aargh! Also, in the evening, I tend to have fine margins for getting buses home, which dont run all that often at that time of night. Because these trains will use the island platform at Huddersfield, I’m going to have long hang around times, wonderful. Its why Thursday night when I’ll be late, after swooning at Louise Brooks in the cinema, I’ll be sweating on the last bus home if it takes a while getting out the cinema! Its why I’ve got Friday off, just in case of ‘entertainment’ in the form of trying to find a taxi after 11.00 at night!
Anyway, give it a few weeks, and I’ll let you know if I can see any difference at Stalybridge, as I fully intend to go to Manchester on my week off, 4 weeks from now. Money is currently on no, lol!
Finally, in tribute to dear old Stalybridge Station, here is a video showing the talent of a folk group from the past, Fivepenny Piece. Just to add, to avoid confusion, back then Stalybridge Town station was the end of a line. In the 1980’s they realigned the line between Leeds and Manchester, and it was promoted to the main line. Which is why its no longer neglected, and definitely not waiting to die. After next week, even more so after its makeover, I guess?