The best-laid schemes…
The Southport Avoider*
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2019
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
20 November 2019
Virgin (not for much longer) Voyager at Crewe Alderley edge - our train leaves TfW 175 passes Alderley Edge 1049 from Alderley Edge at Wigan NW New order at Wigan - 195 008 (and 331 105) Pendolino at Wigan - no longer a Virgin Wigan Wallgate 331 001 - we've arrived at Preston Now that's what I call a railway station Blackburn (remains of) Arrival at Clitheroe Clitheroe - the old station... ...and the new station Clitheroe: Wembley to Irvine china clay tanks - 66711 The "stopper" has stopped at Crewe "They look like children's toys" 153383 Early evening at Crewe Today's last train
nothing remains of the substantial old L&Y station at platform level, though the frontage is still in place. Blackburn is served by, among others, a train running between Clitheroe and Rochdale. We’ll take a ride on it, up to Clitheroe and back on the same train (there isn’t time to explore the town, unless we want to hit the Manchester rush hour and spend a couple of hours travelling in the dark), straight through to Bolton. Our train to Piccadilly is at the other face of the island platform, and we’re off again to Piccadilly, back on our original schedule and in good time to join the 1601 “all stations” to Crewe. An interesting and enjoyable day out, with an unintended difference - and all the trains we used (ten in total, if we include our trains to and from Crewe at the beginning and end of the trip) were on time. * In October 1992, I travelled on a railtour in Ireland, a rerun of a tour earlier that year which should have gone to Cork, but which, as a result of a bomb scare, went to Sligo instead. The rerun, advertised as “The Sligo Avoider”, succeeded in avoiding Sligo, but also avoided its intended destination, due to a freight train derailment near Limerick Junction. Instead, it ran via Ennis to Athenry, returning to Dublin along the Galway line. See “Limerick - the Sligo Avoider
o’ Mice an’ Men …  From Wigan, lines operate to Southport and Kirby (where they connect, end-on, with Merseyrail electric trains. The Southport line crosses the (Liverpool -) Ormskirk - Preston line at Burscough. By switching lines at the latter, we can cover a fair part of this western Lancashire network - and enjoy lunch at that rather good pub we visited in May. … gang aft agley. Yes, another £10 Northern Day Ranger. The 0916 from Crewe gets us to Alderley Edge for the 0949 to Wigan North Western. A few short strides take us to Wigan Wallgate - where we discover that the Southport route is being served by a bus (engineering works, apparently). No thanks! “Let’s go down to Kirkby”. The 1058 to Kirkby would have been leaving Wallgate as we arrived at North Western - the next will be at 1158. Time for a coffee. On returning to the station, with only a couple of minutes to spare, there’s no sign of the train. Too late, we realise it’s in the bay (which we hadn’t noticed earlier). Running along the platform doesn’t help - it’s pulling away as we approach. So an exploration which would have been west of the main line became an alternative to the east. We took the next train from Wigan North Western to Preston (331 001), and from there a train (Blackpool - York) to Blackburn. Sadly,
Passing trains at Crewe 0916 from Crewe Blackburn - paying tribute to its origins