Many thanks. I am now home. Guard on the train explained that we were delayed by a failed train between NLW and Earlestown. 20 min delay. I was on the 1850 from Man Picc to Llandudno. We were held just outside NLW station for 15 min then again for 5 min just after Earlestown.
This ended up with 2 consecutive stoppers to Manchester Victoria departing within minutes of each other from Liverpool Lime Street as 18:46 departed at 19:12 and 19:12 departing at 19:19.
I caught 19:12 from Platform 4 and virtually had a 156 all to myself, there were only about 5/6 passengers that used it, I made a comment to the conductor when he came round (he seems a regular on Lime Street Services) and commented its not often you get a service this quiet and he was enjoying it