Work has started on a couple of rail engineering schemes around Manchester to improve services and timimgs.
Over at Stalybridge the old bay platform (where the 0738 from Walkden arrived) has now been closed and workmen are digging out a new bay platform on the other side of the station (next to the Station Buffet Bar, for those of you who know that wonderful institution). This will allow trains from Victoria to pull into and and out Stalybridge without waiting to cross the busy Transpennine express main lines.
As more through trains from Walkden to Stalybridge are being considered for the December 2012 timetable, this could have a significant benefit to travellers from Walkden: a direct connection onto the Transpennine express services to Leeds, York, Newcastle, Hull etc, instead of having to cross between Victoria and Piccadilly in town.
For fans of the aforementioned Station Buffet Bar it’s an even better prospect … to be able to return from enjoying a few drinks at Stalybridge station on a direct service to Walkden (currently the connections at Victoria are dire).
A little bit further afield trees are being cleared to allow the “Todmorden Curve” to be re-instated. This short section of track east of Todmorden station was closed many years ago cutting off direct services from Burnley to Manchester. It’s not confirmed when the curve will re-open to passenger services, but it’s good to see work taking place to prepare the way !