A long day out on the longest day
Cheshire Solstice
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2023
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
21 June 2023
From Lime Street, we continued our journey on the Merseyrail 3rd rail network, and its 40+ year old trains - their replacements are already arriving. After a change at Birkenhead North, to avoid being taken to New Brighton, we arrived at Hoylake. Time for a leg-stretch along the seafront, followed by a well-earned (we thought so…) lunch near Meols station. Our plans now went astray, but with a happy consequence. Missing a train at Meols by mere seconds, we eventually arrived at Hamilton Square, where we found that the next train to Chester was cancelled. With onward connections in doubt, we decided to return via Lime Street to Crewe. Unfortunately, due to a fatality on the track, there were cancellations, delay and the likelihood of a packed train. We headed back to Manchester (via Warrington) instead! This was the right decision - the next Crewe-bound train from Piccadilly was one of the loco-hauled Transport for Wales services, heading for Cardiff - a very quiet, smooth and comfortable ride in MkIV luxury. Sadly, it wouldn’t be calling at Nantwich - we had to change at Crewe into the “stopper”, another class 150. Rolls-Royce to roller-skate!
A Cheshire Day Ranger outing. We left Nantwich a little earlier than intended, by catching a late-running Cardiff- Manchester service. It was going to be turned back at Wilmslow, though the on-train announcements insisted it would call at Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly and Bodorgan (make of that what you will!). We left the train at Crewe anyway, to take a run to Chester, on one of the brand-new class 197 DMUs (a very quiet and smooth run, though the springs seem a little hard) At Chester, we joined a DMU at the other end of the spectrum - an aging and noisy class 150, at least 36 years old - for a ride to Manchester along the old Cheshire Lines route through Northwich. It would, of course, leave that route at Altrincham (Navigation Road) to head for Piccadilly via Stockport - the old route now being a tramway. From Piccadilly, another cl 197 took us to Earlestown: we left the train to have a look at the station. In 1837 the triangular layout formed the junction between the Liverpool and Manchester and the Grand Junction from Birmingham. We weren’t there long - a class 331 EMU was soon whisking us on to Liverpool Lime Street.
Crewe: southbound Pendolino A pair of Pendolinos Modernity at Crewe: 197 015 73 964 at Chester 197 012 at Earlestown (start them young!) Rocket at Earlestown 331 021 - we're off to Lime Street Lime Street - 331 021 and friends 508 138 at Birkenhead North Passing trains at Birkenhead North Mackenzie, Clunes and Holland 1865: bridge at Meols 507021 at Meols A real train at last! 67 010 at Piccadilly Crewe: almost home! Chester arrival: 197 007 1830s architecture The L&M at Earlestown Art Deco at Hoylake