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Memories of unusual services in the post-privatisation era

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Mogz

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I seem to remember in the years post privatisation Manchester had four different services to London:

Virgin West Coast to Euston

Virgin CrossCountry to Paddington

North West Trains (stopper) to Euston

Wales & West Alphaline to Waterloo (!)

I was a mere boy in the 1990s so would be interested to know if my recollections are correct, and if there were any other unusual workings in the post-privatisation era that didn’t survive long (Wrexham and Shropshire being one, I suppose!)
 
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quantinghome

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Anglia Railways' Norwich to Basingstoke service would surely be one of the most unusual.
 

PTR 444

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I seem to remember in the years post privatisation Manchester had four different services to London:

Virgin West Coast to Euston

Virgin CrossCountry to Paddington

North West Trains (stopper) to Euston

Wales & West Alphaline to Waterloo (!)

I was a mere boy in the 1990s so would be interested to know if my recollections are correct, and if there were any other unusual workings in the post-privatisation era that didn’t survive long (Wrexham and Shropshire being one, I suppose!)
I’m pretty sure there was also a Manchester - St Pancras which was operated by Midland Mainline circa 2003 and went via the Hope Valley Line.
 

SargeNpton

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Northampton, for a while, had a direct morning train to Aberystwyth. Came to an end when Central Trains was split up.
 

peters

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I’m pretty sure there was also a Manchester - St Pancras which was operated by Midland Mainline circa 2003 and went via the Hope Valley Line.

There was a Manchester to St Pancras service while the West Coast Mainline upgrades were ongoing, which provided an alternative for those who didn't want to change to replacement coaches at Milton Keynes. It was heavily advertised with the adverts claiming the operator had reopened the line, they also made a big deal of complimentary hot drinks being available on the service. I think they were actually very unreliable services with trains frequently departing very late.

Regarding other unusual services there was Liverpool to Sunderland via Newcastle, Liverpool to Stansted Airport and some trains ran between Scotland the South of England via Macclesfield.
 

Devonian

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I recall the seven hour+ Alphaline service Penzance to Crewe, via Newport, Hereford and Shrewsbury, run by Wales & Borders/Arriva Trains Wales, but I believe crewed by Wessex Trains from Penzance to Newport.
 

fgwrich

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Until the last decade, you also had the occasional South West Trains service from London Waterloo to Penzance - Crewed by SWT staff from Waterloo to Exeter, where Wessex Trains / FGW Staff would then crew it to Penzance & back.
 

Trackman

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There was a Manchester to St Pancras service while the West Coast Mainline upgrades were ongoing, which provided an alternative for those who didn't want to change to replacement coaches at Milton Keynes. It was heavily advertised with the adverts claiming the operator had reopened the line, they also made a big deal of complimentary hot drinks being available on the service. I think they were actually very unreliable services with trains frequently departing very late.
Yep, 'Project Rio'
I found the route boring compared to the WCML.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The WCRM project gave us some odd routes for a few years.
Coventry-Euston via Banbury, Greenford and and Ealing Broadway.
Holyhead-Euston via (and calling at) Stoke (HST) - all WCML southbounds from Crewe went via Stoke for a season, while Crewe-Stafford was rebuilt.
Yep, 'Project Rio'
I found the route boring compared to the WCML.

Yes, non-stop Manchester/Stockport to Leicester via Toton, then became a stopper on the MML.
 

Ianno87

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Stansted Airport - Birmingham - Liverpool Lime Street, introduced by Central Trains in May 1998, was a pretty tortuous through train.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Stansted Airport - Birmingham - Liverpool Lime Street, introduced by Central Trains in May 1998, was a pretty tortuous through train.

Cambrian/Chester trains via Shrewsbury also went via Birmingham to Nottingham and the east coast (eg Skegness).
I'm not sure there was ever a Barmouth to Yarmouth train, though, but that was the scope of the franchise...
 

SeanG

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I find the SWT/SWR service from Waterloo - Weymouth via Yeovil rather unusual - quite a circuitous route.

I believe that there was once a Lancaster - Barrow - Carlisle - Newcastle service which was operated by a Newton Heath 142, it then returned to Carlisle ECS
 

pompeyfan

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It wouldn’t have seemed unusual at the time and I’m sure it would be gratefully received now, but there was the Saturday only Brighton - Paignton, as well as the daily Portsmouth - Penzance services which don’t quite fit into this modern era of clockface timetables and regular calling patterns.
 

davidknibb

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I seem to remember in the years post privatisation Manchester had four different services to London:

Virgin West Coast to Euston

Virgin CrossCountry to Paddington

North West Trains (stopper) to Euston

Wales & West Alphaline to Waterloo (!)

I was a mere boy in the 1990s so would be interested to know if my recollections are correct, and if there were any other unusual workings in the post-privatisation era that didn’t survive long (Wrexham and Shropshire being one, I suppose!)
I recall getting on a train at Coventry running direct to Harwich, going via a link line in North London.
I don't where it originated, maybe Manchester. And I think it ran with an electric loco all the way.
.
 

Steddenm

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Birmingham International to London Marylebone, calling at Coventry only when engineering work was taking place on the WCML at Rugby. Was operated by a VT Voyager.
 

pompeyfan

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I find the SWT/SWR service from Waterloo - Weymouth via Yeovil rather unusual - quite a circuitous route.

this service is unlikely to be repeated due to crewing issues which is a shame. The Weymouth carnival specials were also very well used as was the summer jolly to Corfe/Swanage. The carnival trains are stuff the railway should be championing
 

hexagon789

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I seem to remember in the years post privatisation Manchester had four different services to London:

Virgin West Coast to Euston

Virgin CrossCountry to Paddington

North West Trains (stopper) to Euston

Wales & West Alphaline to Waterloo (!)

I was a mere boy in the 1990s so would be interested to know if my recollections are correct, and if there were any other unusual workings in the post-privatisation era that didn’t survive long (Wrexham and Shropshire being one, I suppose!)
FNW Manchester Airport and Rochdale to London
 

adc82140

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Anglia Railways' Norwich to Basingstoke service would surely be one of the most unusual.
I travelled on that a couple of times, not just for fun but because it was the most convenient way to get me from Highbury & Islington to Farnborough. I was one of only about half a dozen passengers on board.
 

hexagon789

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I travelled on that a couple of times, not just for fun but because it was the most convenient way to get me from Highbury & Islington to Farnborough. I was one of only about half a dozen passengers on board.
Didn't they even go so far as to normally diagram a 3-car 170 with buffet on these services - making it even more of a waste?
 

Djgr

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I seem to remember in the years post privatisation Manchester had four different services to London:

Virgin West Coast to Euston

Virgin CrossCountry to Paddington

North West Trains (stopper) to Euston

Wales & West Alphaline to Waterloo (!)

I was a mere boy in the 1990s so would be interested to know if my recollections are correct, and if there were any other unusual workings in the post-privatisation era that didn’t survive long (Wrexham and Shropshire being one, I suppose!)
Were there any services running post-privatisation Manchester to Kensington Olympia (and beyond)?
 

SeanG

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Nymanic

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Beat me to it on the Manchester to Penzance - a single Chapman-seated 158, reservations compulsory, last time I saw one in the mid-2000s.

Were there any services running post-privatisation Manchester to Kensington Olympia (and beyond)?
A couple of Manchester to Brighton trains daily IIRC in the early Voyager days. Significantly longer journey than via London. Never had a chance to sample it.
 

PHILIPE

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I recall the seven hour+ Alphaline service Penzance to Crewe, via Newport, Hereford and Shrewsbury, run by Wales & Borders/Arriva Trains Wales, but I believe crewed by Wessex Trains from Penzance to Newport.

I'm sure it ran through to Manchester and combined at Newport with a portion from Milford Haven
 

Mcr Warrior

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There was a Manchester to St Pancras service while the West Coast Mainline upgrades were ongoing, which provided an alternative for those who didn't want to change to replacement coaches at Milton Keynes. I think they were actually very unreliable services with trains frequently departing very late.
I used the Manchester Piccadilly -> London St. Pancras train numerous times and always found that the service invariably ran on time.

Yep, 'Project Rio'
I found the route boring compared to the WCML.
Beg to differ. The section through the Hope Valley is, IMHO, quite scenic.

Were there any services running post-privatisation Manchester to Kensington Olympia (and beyond)?
Used to be a twice daily (Virgin) Cross Country service post privatisation from Manchester Piccadilly to Brighton via Reading. One then normally ran via Kensington Olympia, the other via Guildford. Slightly longer journey time than travelling via Euston but saved the hassle of the London Underground transfer.
 

Jan Mayen

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Perhaps the most unusual I used was a Clapham Junction to Fishguard Harbour. Was that Wales and West?
Also travelled on Project Rio Stp to Stockport.
 

SeanG

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I have just been reading that a lot of the Virgin Pompey - Liverpool services were in fact operated by 158s. As were a few Manchester - Edinburghs, and the Swindon - Birmingham service. You wouldn't normally associate VT with a 158!
 

Jan Mayen

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I used the Manchester Piccadilly -> London St. Pancras train numerous times and always found that the service invariably ran on time.

Beg to differ. The section through the Hope Valley is IMHO, quite scenic.

Used to be a twice daily (Virgin) Cross Country service post privatisation from Manchester Piccadilly to Brighton via Reading. One then ran via Kensington Olympia, the other via Guildford. Slightly longer journey time than travelling via Euston but saved the hassle of the London Underground transfer.
The one time I used the Cross Country from Brighton, it went to Glasgow Central. Diverted via Settle.
 

Ianno87

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Birmingham International to London Marylebone, calling at Coventry only when engineering work was taking place on the WCML at Rugby. Was operated by a VT Voyager.

Another blockade (2014) saw Euston-Chiltern Route-Coventry-Rugby.

I *thought* Voyagers never made to Marylebone - Euston was always used, via Greenford-West Easling-South West Sidings

I have just been reading that a lot of the Virgin Pompey - Liverpool services were in fact operated by 158s. As were a few Manchester - Edinburghs, and the Swindon - Birmingham service. You wouldn't normally associate VT with a 158!

They didn't even brand the rolling stock!
 

hacman

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Regarding other unusual services there was Liverpool to Sunderland via Newcastle

I believe these were actually started pre-privatisation in the BR Regional Railways Era, before eventually being canned by Arriva Trains Northern. Used it quite a few times!
 
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