Parlimentary Train Chester to Runcorn

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frodshamfella

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Thanks to this forum, I learnt of a weekly service running from Chester to Runcorn on Saturdays at 0753 via Halton Curve and I took it last Saturday. The biggest surprise was that i was not the only passenger, there were 8 of us in total, and some certainly were not going just for the ride as they had luggage. All changed at Runcorn for a Liverpool train, and two including me went southwards on the West Cost mainline. Will certainly take this train again in the future, first time I have ever been on a parlimentary service !
 

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tsr

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Very interesting - I have heard that service has carried one or two enthusiasts but not the grand totals you describe! You'll probably get a few semi-organised travellers who have looked at the journey planner system on NRE and want to take that train because it's simply going the way they want to go too. Whether or not it's a Parliamentary will make no difference to someone with a printout from NRE or the like! That said, not all such services are even that well-patronised.

On another "Parly" topic, there was an anecdote going round about an old couple who always used the Reddish South service because it was the best way to get to some shops (or something like that) at the time it ran, so there are probably a few non-enthusiasts who look out for what they would think were quirky one-offs (and in essence they are!) and put them to good use.
 

Eire Sprinter

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frodshamfella, do you mind me asking was the train mentioned on the departure screens as I see in the photo the blind just shows "Special". My only concern of travelling on such a train would be in case it wasn't mentioned (though I assume station staff would be sure of the platform).

I see the times on NRE but it doesn't seem to be in the Northern timetable PDFs.
 

Mutant Lemming

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I could see the potential for passengers wishing to travel to Liverpool Airport from Chester without having to negotiate the escalators at Moorfields, Lime St or Central (when open) and then hunting down the stop for the airport bus. A simple same platform change at Runcorn and knowing the bus stops outside Liverpool South Parkway would seem an easier and possibly quicker route.
 

142094

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Also wondering if this service is advertised at Chester as I'll be on it in a couple of weeks time and don't want to miss it through not knowing what platform it is on.

A few years back Northern and Merseytravel extended it through to Liverpool South Parkway to show it could be done - shame nothing else has progressed.
 

Eagle

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Also wondering if this service is advertised at Chester as I'll be on it in a couple of weeks time and don't want to miss it through not knowing what platform it is on.
There's no reason why it shouldn't be displayed—it's a perfectly cromulent service after all.

Although I could just save you some time and say it's booked from platform 6. ;) Formed from the unit that runs the first Mid-Ches service, which arrives at 07.44.
 

142094

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There's no reason why it shouldn't be displayed—it's a perfectly cromulent service after all.
A long lost thread I was reading had someone on saying that the departure boards did not show the service.

Eagle said:
Although I could just save you some time and say it's booked from platform 6. ;) Formed from the unit that runs the first Mid-Ches service, which arrives at 07.44.
One step ahead of you - already knew that. Was going to test Chester's ticket office to see if they knew about it (which I hope they would).

EDIT - should point out I checked the platform it is booked out of after my last post.
 

Eagle

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But there should be a Northern unit there to work the Manchester service IIRC.
Hmm. Looking at the booked departures:

A Northern service arrives into p6 from Helsby at 07.25.
A Northern service arrives into p6 from Manchester at 07.44.
A Northern service departs from p6 to Runcorn at 07.53.
A Northern service departs from p6 to Manchester at 08.07.

Bearing in mind that p6 is a bay platform, I can only surmise that there will be two units in p6 at once, and you want the front one.
 

142094

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Either that or a straight swap, with the Manchester train booked to do the rip to Runcorn, with the one already in the bay going to Manchester.
 

Eagle

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Must be, you can hardly have two trains passing through each other!

Out of interest, upon arrival at Runcorn the unit immediately heads off to Liverpool, where it hangs around for about 45 minutes before forming a service to Warrington Bank Quay.
 

ivanhoe

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Must be, you can hardly have two trains passing through each other!

Out of interest, upon arrival at Runcorn the unit immediately heads off to Liverpool, where it hangs around for about 45 minutes before forming a service to Warrington Bank Quay.
Any reason why it could not stop at Southparkway on route to Lime Street? It could be of some use, instead of being a waste of space. Is it correct that trains cannot go via Halton Curve from Runcorn?
 

Eagle

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Any reason why it could not stop at Southparkway on route to Lime Street? It could be of some use, instead of being a waste of space. Is it correct that trains cannot go via Halton Curve from Runcorn?
Because it's running ECS between Runcorn and Liverpool.

And yes, the Halton curve is unidirectional.
 

142094

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Any reason why it could not stop at Southparkway on route to Lime Street? It could be of some use, instead of being a waste of space. Is it correct that trains cannot go via Halton Curve from Runcorn?
Might be timing issues, although if they managed it a while back they should be able to do it now. Yes you're right as well, trains can only go northbound due to the crossovers being removed at Halton and Frodsham Junctions.
 

SprinterMan

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As a resident of North Wales, I can say that a direct Chester-Liverpool Airport service would be very useful indeed. Chester to South Parkway would be faster via the Halton curve than via Merseyrail, and would be alot easier for people going to an airport as it would not require a change at Central/Moorfields, and the main platforms at South Parkway are closer to the buses than the Merseyrail platforms.

Adam :D
 

frodshamfella

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frodshamfella, do you mind me asking was the train mentioned on the departure screens as I see in the photo the blind just shows "Special". My only concern of travelling on such a train would be in case it wasn't mentioned (though I assume station staff would be sure of the platform).

I see the times on NRE but it doesn't seem to be in the Northern timetable PDFs.
Hi, sorry for the delay, yes the train was down as "special" I dont think its too clear in my photo at Chester . However, the electric indicator at Chester did clearly display the service for Runcorn which left from platform 5. Here are a few more photos, arriving at Runcorn and leaving North Wales line for the Halton Curve.
 

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frodshamfella

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There's no reason why it shouldn't be displayed—it's a perfectly cromulent service after all.

Although I could just save you some time and say it's booked from platform 6. ;) Formed from the unit that runs the first Mid-Ches service, which arrives at 07.44.
Your right it does advise on National Rail Enq online departing from platfrom 6, it did however depart from platform 5. Also I arrived on the Mid Cheshire Line from Cuddington which terminated at platform 6. I did expect that train to operate the Chester-Runcorn 07.53, but not so, there was already a train in on platform 5, and this was the one which ran the service. It was clearly displayed on indicator at Chester. The front of the train was labelled "Special" . Last picture is joining West Coast Mainline beofre arriving in Runcorn.
 

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frodshamfella

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Thanks to this forum, I learnt of a weekly service running from Chester to Runcorn on Saturdays at 0753 via Halton Curve and I took it last Saturday. The biggest surprise was that i was not the only passenger, there were 8 of us in total, and some certainly were not going just for the ride as they had luggage. All changed at Runcorn for a Liverpool train, and two including me went southwards on the West Cost mainline. Will certainly take this train again in the future, first time I have ever been on a parlimentary service !
If you check the first photo, the Northern unit to the left is the one operating the Runcorn service (platform 5) to the right is the Mid Cheshire service via Northwich from Manchester I got off from on platform 6. In fact I think there were two northern train sets on that platform.
 

a22book

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Hopefully the curve will get more use soon. If this news article is correct

http://www.runcornandwidnesweeklynews.co.uk/runcorn-widnes-news/runcorn-widnes-local-news/2012/05/17/ruthless-rise-of-liverpool-city-region-as-halton-due-to-sign-bid-for-government-deal-55368-30980708/
 

frodshamfella

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It would certainly be great to see this short link brought back into proper use, I think certainly the potential for it to be well used particularly with the growth at Liverpool Airport (Liverpool South Parkway) is high.

For the time being since the service dashes off to Lime Street from Runcorn, allowing passengers to stay on, with an intermediate stop at South Parkway would be handy. Most of the passengers I observed were awaiting a Liverpool bound train at Runcorn, and certainly some had luggage so maybe travelling to the airport.
 

Eagle

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It would certainly be great to see this short link brought back into proper use, I think certainly the potential for it to be well used particularly with the growth at Liverpool Airport (Liverpool South Parkway) is high.
I agree, but the fact that it would need to be completely resignalled to allow a two-way service is a major stumbling block.
 

cle

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I tihnk it'd be wporth it - there's a lot of potential here. Scousers love North Wales, and North Wales doesn't have a proper airport!
 

frodshamfella

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Apparently the Halton curve was very well used at one point, with more train from Frodsham for example going that way, than going to Manchester as today , and that long before the busy airport that Liverpool has today.

I just emailed Northern Rail, and asked my not stop the 0753 Chester to Runcorn to Liverpool Lime Street with a stop at Liverpool South Parkway as it would seem its going there anyway. No harm asking !!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
One other point on this line (Halton Curve) I understand Merseyrail, should they take over the route in the future would like to open a new station in a residential area of Runcorn called Beechwood.
 

John55

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Apparently the Halton curve was very well used at one point, with more train from Frodsham for example going that way, than going to Manchester as today , and that long before the busy airport that Liverpool has today.

I just emailed Northern Rail, and asked my not stop the 0753 Chester to Runcorn to Liverpool Lime Street with a stop at Liverpool South Parkway as it would seem its going there anyway. No harm asking !!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
One other point on this line (Halton Curve) I understand Merseyrail, should they take over the route in the future would like to open a new station in a residential area of Runcorn called Beechwood.
Have a look at the Halton borough Council Local Transport Plan 3 P199 for the details of what is a joint proposal from many local authorities.
 

merlodlliw

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I tihnk it'd be wporth it - there's a lot of potential here. Scousers love North Wales, and North Wales doesn't have a proper airport!
Those of us who live in North Wales use predominately Manchester International & then Liverpool, in fact Wales does not have a proper airport, Cardiff airport the largest is a shambles. I take it you meant Airports with big jets.
 

Mutant Lemming

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Although it would cost to re-instate the crossover at Runcorn what are the obstacles in the way of running a shuttle between Chester and Runcorn using the Liverpool platform as a reversing point ?
 
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