Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Sunday train services in Macclesfield

26th March 2007

The Sunday train service between Manchester and Macclesfield at the extremities of the day do pose a challenge for anyone wanting to go away for the day. Of course, the mindset is probably that people go away fro the whole weekend and not just Sunday. However, because I am learning to drive, my Saturdays are taken up so this is not always possible at the moment.

The two directions that I would find most useful are precisely the ones with the late start/early finish problem. The first train for Manchester is at a laggardly 10:26, not much good for getting anywhere, and the last train to Macclesfield was at 20:58 until last weekend but a 21:56 thankfully starts from next weekend. Then, to add to the restrictions, engineering work makes services start later or finish earlier.

At the heart of this is Northern Rail‘s continual refusal to fill in the gaps in the timetable and their leaving Virgin to run almost all of the services; their Manchester-bound trains start from London and Birmingham and southbound trains from Manchester are headed for the same destinations and, in some cases, beyond. Instead, Northern run local stopping services at times that do not make sense for Macclesfield and perhaps for the other places that the same trains serve. It would be interesting to hear their logic for this: is it the provision of connections for long distance express trains? I have shared the actual times below to help you see what I mean.

Current Timetable (from April 2007)
Departures from MacclesfieldDepartures from Manchester
16:4115:20
19:3717:59
22:3620:58

While it would be better if an hourly local service ran on Sundays like what happens on other railway lines in the Northern Rail area, I have taken a more pragmatic stance in some armchair timetabling to which I have turned my mind (see below). I was in communication with Northern Rail a while back and made the suggestion that they should cover the part of the day that Virgin doesn’t but nothing seems to have happened apart from Virgin running a useful later service. Maybe I need to try them again, this time with the specifics of my timetable idea rather than the vaguer intimations that I made previously.

My Suggestion for a Better Timetable
Departures from MacclesfieldDepartures from Manchester
08:4107:21 (Terminates at Stoke-on-Trent)
17:3715:57 (Terminates at Stoke-on-Trent)
23:1322:58 (Terminates at Macclesfield)

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