Northern minor changes from 8/3

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peters

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I'm not sure if this is relevant for any of the existing threads on COVID timetables or Northern timetables.

Looking at RTT, it seems Northern have made some minor changes to allow for schools returning on 8th March.

The one I've noticed isn't exactly what I was expecting to see.

A 2D43 0804 Stockport to Chester has appeared and that has a return working of 2H38 1000 Chester to Manchester Oxford Road.
 
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atillathehunn

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I'm not sure if this is relevant for any of the existing threads on COVID timetables or Northern timetables.

Looking at RTT, it seems Northern have made some minor changes to allow for schools returning on 8th March.

The one I've noticed isn't exactly what I was expecting to see.

A 2D43 0804 Stockport to Chester has appeared and that has a return working of 2H38 1000 Chester to Manchester Oxford Road.
I'm sure it's because it will be the school train through mid-Cheshire. Usually very well patronised.
 

peters

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I'm sure it's because it will be the school train through mid-Cheshire. Usually very well patronised.

The normal 'school trains' in that direction are 07:09 Manchester to Chester for schools in Northwich area (highest patronage), 07:41 Manchester to Chester for schools in Knutsford area (next highest patronage) and 08:18 Stockport to Chester for schools in Altrincham area. Since last September the 07:41 hasn't operated and the 08:18 has started back at Piccadilly, before it was removed again in January. Now they've come up with a train which runs inbetween the times the 07:41 and 08:18 would run.

The 07:41 normally carries a fair few commuters to the Northwich area as well. To be honest there's not really a lot of point of the 08:18 Stockport to Chester being all stations, it only really needs to call at the main stations.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be anything for the school children who have to travel in the Manchester bound direction in the morning and the Chester bound direction in the afternoon.

Northern have also put new timetables on their website for the Buxton and Crewe lines, I'm not sure what's changed on those lines.
 

atillathehunn

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The normal 'school trains' in that direction are 07:09 Manchester to Chester for schools in Northwich area (highest patronage), 07:41 Manchester to Chester for schools in Knutsford area (next highest patronage) and 08:18 Stockport to Chester for schools in Altrincham area. Since last September the 07:41 hasn't operated and the 08:18 has started back at Piccadilly, before it was removed again in January. Now they've come up with a train which runs inbetween the times the 07:41 and 08:18 would run.

The 07:41 normally carries a fair few commuters to the Northwich area as well. To be honest there's not really a lot of point of the 08:18 Stockport to Chester being all stations, it only really needs to call at the main stations.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be anything for the school children who have to travel in the Manchester bound direction in the morning and the Chester bound direction in the afternoon.

Northern have also put new timetables on their website for the Buxton and Crewe lines, I'm not sure what's changed on those lines.
I don't know whether normal has any bearing on the world today. I'm not even sure what time the schools start anymore, they may have changed/staggered as a result of COVID and therefore the 08.04 is relevant for getting kids to the Knutsford/Greenbank area (most of the schools are in Greenbank/Hartford rather than Northwich per se). I never knew any kids that went to school in Manchester from mid-Cheshire. If they were going out of region, it would be the private schools in Chester.
 

peters

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I don't know whether normal has any bearing on the world today. I'm not even sure what time the schools start anymore, they may have changed/staggered as a result of COVID and therefore the 08.04 is relevant for getting kids to the Knutsford/Greenbank area (most of the schools are in Greenbank/Hartford rather than Northwich per se).

St Nicholas High (near Greenbank) changed their starting and finishing times to 08:45 to 15:45 so the start and finish times coincided with suitable trains in both directions at Greenbank, the head was less than pleased with Northern for just deciding they could not bother running some of those services once schools fully reopened without consulting with either the school or local authority.

Knutsford Academy has an 08:45 start and for some reason they have different finishing times on different days.

I never knew any kids that went to school in Manchester from mid-Cheshire. If they were going out of region, it would be the private schools in Chester.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean there. There are school flows from Knutsford and the villages near Knutsford to schools in the Altrincham area, as well as flows in the opposite direction. There's 2 or 3 different uniforms worn by the children making such journeys, I don't know which uniform is for which school.

I'm pretty sure there's coaches from Knutsford to both the independent Grange School in Hartford and Kings School in Macclesfield, so plenty of choice for independents without going all the way to Chester.
 

Greybeard33

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Trafford has grammar schools whereas Cheshire has comprehensives, so there is a lot of cross boundary travel. Bright Cheshire kids go to Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, the Loreto Grammar School or St Ambrose College (Hale is the nearest station to the first two), while many less bright kids from the Altrincham/Hale area go to Knutsford Academy rather than the Altrincham secondary modern schools.
 

peters

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Apologies my earlier post should have said 15:15 for the St Nicholas finishing time, 15:45 was the old finishing time when it was a later start and longer lunch break.
 

JRT

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Additional calls at Apperley Bridge 07:37 (from Skipton) and 16:05 (to Skipton)
 

peters

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Trafford has grammar schools whereas Cheshire has comprehensives, so there is a lot of cross boundary travel. Bright Cheshire kids go to Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, the Loreto Grammar School or St Ambrose College (Hale is the nearest station to the first two), while many less bright kids from the Altrincham/Hale area go to Knutsford Academy rather than the Altrincham secondary modern schools.

It gets slightly complicated here. The Catholic primary in Knutsford is St Vincents, which is one of the feeder schools into St Nicholas High in Hartford, so all Catholic pupils at St Vincents in Knutsford automatically get offered a place at St Nicholas. Cheshire school children do not, by default, do any tests which determine which high school they can go to. Although, that doesn't prevent their parents applying to a grammar school and arranging for them to do a test, arranged by the school they are applying to. Bright pupils tend to get good GCSE results at St Nicholas, they have had pupils get 11 GCSEs all at grades A* & A or 7-9, so it's questionable what the advantages are of sending children to Loreto or St Ambrose instead. The possible exception is the St Vincents pupils who live in the villages around Knutsford e.g. Mobberley, which are closer to Hale Barns than Mobberley.

The parents of the children from Trafford who don't get into grammar schools may prefer Knutsford over the secondary modern but the reality is the secondary modern schools in Trafford don't have enough places for all Trafford schoolchildren so some are always going to have to travel, even if none of the parents from Trafford didn't wanted to send their children to Knutsford.

For the large flows it's debatable whether it would be better to have school buses rather than the pupils using the train. However, for villages like Ashley and Plumley, it doesn't really make sense to send buses for so few pupils when there should be a train service running to at least an hourly frequency.

The other thing to consider is there are always one or two not going to their most local school. For instance, I'm aware of Knutsford Academy being unable to offer places to children who move to Knutsford and try to join part way through their secondary education, which can result in Knutsford pupils going to Wilmslow High and Rudheath Academy, while Altrincham pupils of the same age are attending Knutsford Academy. In instances like these it's again easier to put these pupils on existing public transport where possible.

Really as Northern are supposed to be providing a service which caters for essential journeys within government guidelines, they should be ensuring their services cater for all school flows from 8 March.
 

Jamesrob637

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Must be minor as I can't see any improvement at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme until the 12th of April when the Alderley Edge to Southport resume

Maybe with 769s?! :lol:
 

peters

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Must be minor as I can't see any improvement at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme until the 12th of April when the Alderley Edge to Southport resume

They are very minor changes only to cater for where they have large school flows and where there were very long gaps between services. Even the 08:02 Chester to Manchester, which does normally carry school children to Greenbank and which would call at Levenshulme at 09:23, isn't reinstated. That means those children have to either arrive before 07:30 or their parents need to drive them to school, or maybe they are expected to cycle along a busy dual carriageway.

You'll know more about school flows to and from Heaton Chapel and Leveshulme more than me and what current loadings are like. A quick glance at the Levenshulme times shows in the Manchester direction there are 8 departures pre-9am and 7 between 3pm and 5pm, while in the Stockport direction there are 7 pre-9am and 4 between 3pm and 5pm. That's up to 8 times more services than some other stations in the morning peak and unlike many stations that includes some services operated by 6 car trains.

It seems the new Northern way of doing thing is to reinstate services and to update the timetables on their website after the public tell them they are running those services!

Claire @trixiefox01
@northernassist your website is showing a train scheduled at 8.04am from Stockport to Altrincham. This isn’t on your published timetable. Is this service running or is it an error on the journey planner?
11:21PM Mar 7

@northernassist
Replying to @trixiefox01
Morning Claire. I can see there is a 0804 service from Stockport-Altrincham today that is due to run. I apologise for the confusion with it not being on the timetable. I'm just waiting for a bit more clarity on why that is - I'll come back to you once I have more information. ^JD
06:38AM Mar 8

@northernassist
Replying to @trixiefox01
Hi again Claire. The team have got back to us and confirmed this service is planned to operate as shown in journey planners Mondays - Fridays starting today. We are working to update the timetable to reflect this. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, have a great day! ^JD
08:42AM Mar 8

 
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northernchris

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Must be minor as I can't see any improvement at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme until the 12th of April when the Alderley Edge to Southport resume

Maybe with 769s?! :lol:

I hadn't realised the times were changing on the 12th, it seems as though it's a return to the December 2020 timetable before the reduced May 2021 times kick in a few weeks later
 

Bald Rick

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I hadn't realised the times were changing on the 12th, it seems as though it's a return to the December 2020 timetable before the reduced May 2021 times kick in a few weeks later

It isn’t... it’s just that the amendments from April 12th have yet to be published.
 

peters

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It isn’t... it’s just that the amendments from April 12th have yet to be published.

Yes. Only a couple if weeks ago journey planners were showing Northern services returning to December 2020 levels from 8 March. I hope Northern are planning to reinstate more services in April when lockdown measures are eased but I certainly wouldn't bet on the advertised times not changing between now and then. Unfortunately, it might be another case of driver availability preventing missing services being reinstated, rather than a lack of demand.
 

Jamesrob637

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Clearly these minor changes are just that... minor!

If you believe Northern's Twitter feed. Still loads of complaints about missing school time trains especially in Yorkshire and the North East.
 

northernchris

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Clearly these minor changes are just that... minor!

If you believe Northern's Twitter feed. Still loads of complaints about missing school time trains especially in Yorkshire and the North East.

We can only hope there is an uplift (or at least additional carriages where possible) before the May timetable change to match passenger demand.
 

peters

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If you believe Northern's Twitter feed. Still loads of complaints about missing school time trains especially in Yorkshire and the North East.

I'm not sure what Northern's excuse is for only reinstating some of the services school children need. In some cases they have been offering Scholar's Season Tickets, which were cheaper than tickets for school bus routes and have since resulted in the school bus routes no longer operating due to lack of demand. The Scholar's Season Tickets are popular with both parents and Northern as it prevents incidents of children pocketing money for a train fare if they think they can get away with not buying a ticket and incidents of children being bullied for money.

We can only hope there is an uplift (or at least additional carriages where possible) before the May timetable change to match passenger demand.

The new route 17 timetable on Northern's site has an expiry date of Good Friday, so hopefully that means a new timetable with additional services starting Easter Monday.
 
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