Friday 31 January 2014

Huyton and Roby Update

Work is proceeding apace on the extra tracks through Huyton and Roby.  My thanks go to David Hull for a very comprehensive report and the following pictures.

See my previous blog post for a plan of the track layouts.

Two lengths of track on the third line have been laid, one west of Roby and one between Roby and Huyton.  Here's a shot looking west from Roby.

The piling work west of Roby continues, it would appear that the embankment needs widening to make room for four tracks.  Apparently the LNWR's parsimonious track spacing does not comply with modern standards.


Brickwork is being laid for platform extensions.

The explanation for the props under the canopy is that the work to gut the station building and install a lift shaft will remove the counterbalancing in the building's structure.  When the work is complete the props can be removed.

The joint I complained about in the subway continues to seep water, but the fact that the subway is not full after the recent wet weather is a tremendous improvement on previous years.


A different access route for platform two is in use, leaving the platform west of the shelter and running along the new formation to join the access ramp half way down.  This is because the east-most end of the platform is closed to allow constructiuon of a lift shaft.

Platform edging for platform 4 is well under way.

Lift shaft construction is progressing, with the one on platform 4 complete to ground level.

The western ends of the existing platforms are closed off with these rustic-looking gates.

Typographical nit-pickers will note that the S is upside down!  Surprisingly the sign at the other end of the station is correct.

Monday 27 January 2014

New Timetable

Details of the new timetable, valid 18th May to 13th December, are appearing in the schedule database.  At this early stage they must be considered provisional.

Points noted so far are:
  • The service at Huyton is pretty much unchanged but the actual times of many trains have moved by a few minutes.  The bustitution of late evening trains Sunday to Thursday continues.  Personally, I think it's a bit odd that the timings which have served for a number of years are being tweaked in what could, after all,  be the last diesel timetable for these routes.
  • Sunday trains are restored between Liverpool and Manchester via Earlestown and between Liverpool and Wigan.
  • Manchester Airport / Scotland services continue to be routed via Golborne, of course.  They are now recorded in the database as 100 mph EMUs.  (As expected, no sign of 110 mph scheduling.)
  • There's no indication in the data yet of a blockade for the remodelling of Huyton Junction.  I imagine this will require a long weekend at the very least, and more likely a whole week.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Progress Report

I took a trip to Manchester yesterday to see how things are moving along.  Here's a brief summary:

Between Huyton and Earlestown, mast bases are progressing well, but there's loads more still to do.

At Earlestown, the track work is still only half completed.  The crossover leading from the down line into the loop at Earlestown West Junction remains disconnected, and a number of the new signals are bagged.

Some work is under way near Astley, and I could see some catenary support arms lying on the ground.  Perhaps the section switching point which Modern Railways said was being omitted to save time, is now being inserted?

I headed up to Bolton, as expected there were no signs of work, and then on toward Wigan on the recently added "Phase Six" route.  I'll be putting pictures and details of this line on the Routes In Detail pages soon.

At Wigan I walked to North Western to get a train back to Manchester, and I was pleased to find it was one of the new electric units.
350402 was soon whizzing me southwards, until about a mile north of Golborne Junction, where we stopped abruptly with what seemed to be a TPWS trip.  After ten  minutes delay blocking the WCML and a conflab between the driver and some other TPE staff on board, we were on our way once more, completing the run to Piccadilly without further problems.

Next, I went to Stalybridge for a pint in the famous Buffet Bar, and to check out "Phase Five".  Again, pictures and details will be on the web site soon.  Bridge raising work is under way at Ashton-under-Lyne.

Finally I took a look around the building site which used to be Manchester Victoria.  The track has been lowered under the road bridge at the east end of the station, and a number of catenary support structures have been attached to the roof. 

Between Victoria and Ordsall Lane Junction lots of mast bases are in place and some masts and portal structures are up, more towards the Ordsall Lane end.