Sleepers at Manchester?

TheGarner

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Hi all,

First of, sorry if this is not the right area to post such a thread. Feel free to move it if necessary. Basically I have this memory, not a great one of that of boarding some sort of sleeper train. It had a compartment type area with beds for sure. Unfortunately I don't remember the destination but I'm going to guess maybe London? Could even be in a place in Scotland but it would definitely have to leave Manchester. I'm 25 years old - I don't remember the year but I was a young child If I remember rightly.

So was there any such services within the Manchester area that it might have been?
 
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Bertie the bus

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There were sleepers from Manchester, Liverpool and Barrow until the early 1990s. They combined at Stafford to form one service to Euston.
 

alistairlees

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Cant of been a long night , late departure , early arrival , would love to see a timetable .
1984-1985 timetable, Mondays to Saturdays:

Man P 0030
Eus 0446

Portion from Liverpool LS depart 0015 and combining with the Manchester portion at Stafford.

Connecting 2150 Barrow in Furness to Crewe.

On Sunday mornings departed at the same time from Liverpool / Manchester, but got to Euston at 0547 on Sunday morning.

This was just one of seven sleeper trains arriving at Euston in the morning.
 

muddythefish

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1984-1985 timetable, Mondays to Saturdays:

Man P 0030
Eus 0446

Portion from Liverpool LS depart 0015 and combining with the Manchester portion at Stafford.

Connecting 2150 Barrow in Furness to Crewe.

On Sunday mornings departed at the same time from Liverpool / Manchester, but got to Euston at 0547 on Sunday morning.

This was just one of seven sleeper trains arriving at Euston in the morning.
Those were the days when the railway offered a service.
 

Mutant Lemming

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It's not exactly a useful service when Manchester to Euston by day train takes a shade over 2 hours, really? WCML electrification must have rendered these trains unpopular, and PUG1 (even if PUG2 didn't happen) coupled with cheaper flights wiped them out.
They were always quite popular with football supporters after midweek night games and also served as a commuter service for early morning workers in London from places like Nuneaton and Rugby. It would stop everywhere for 10 minutes or so - probably took on mail, parcels as well and was the best part of 4 to 5 hours although the last trains now, though no longer overnight still call at a lot more stops and take around three hours. For those in sleeping cars they could have a lie in on arrival and weren't booted out till half seven.
 

alistairlees

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Those were the days when the railway offered a service.
Not really. Those were the days when the railway offered a different service. One suited to the needs of the time. There would be no point offering so many sleeper trains today; the demand isn't there. Incidentally, in 1984-85 there were many routes where the 'service' was terrible (in terms of both speed and frequency) compared to today. From branch lines to main lines.
 

PeterC

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Not really. Those were the days when the railway offered a different service. One suited to the needs of the time. There would be no point offering so many sleeper trains today; the demand isn't there. Incidentally, in 1984-85 there were many routes where the 'service' was terrible (in terms of both speed and frequency) compared to today. From branch lines to main lines.
The whole economics of overnight services depended on the synergy of combining passenger, postal, newspaper and parcels traffic.
 

Bald Rick

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The Manchester sleeper had definitely stopped by 1992 though, which is before the OP was born.

Perhaps the OP boarded one at Preston or Crewe?
 

30907

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The Manchester sleeper had definitely stopped by 1992 though, which is before the OP was born.

Perhaps the OP boarded one at Preston or Crewe?
In which case they would have been heading North. Or was taken on holiday by car using French Motorail?
 

Bevan Price

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Many years ago, there used to be a sleeper from Manchester Victoria to Scotland - probably ceased by the late 1960s or early 1970s; there was also a portion from Liverpool Lime St.
 

Bertie the bus

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In which case they would have been heading North. Or was taken on holiday by car using French Motorail?
Not necessarily. The Glasgow/Edinburgh – Plymouth/Poole was still running in 1994. I can’t remember all of its pick ups but I expect there were some in the North West. It would have been a very early life memory though if that was the service.

As he says it definitely left from Manchester my guess is a Mk 1 compartment, some of which were still probably in operation on Holidaymaker services and possibly even some of the NW regional services, and the memory has got confused over time.
 

muddythefish

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Not necessarily. The Glasgow/Edinburgh – Plymouth/Poole was still running in 1994. I can’t remember all of its pick ups but I expect there were some in the North West. It would have been a very early life memory though if that was the service.

As he says it definitely left from Manchester my guess is a Mk 1 compartment, some of which were still probably in operation on Holidaymaker services and possibly even some of the NW regional services, and the memory has got confused over time.
The West of England - Scotland sleeper was a huge train, loaded to 15 or more coaches IIRC. Very big demand - another excellent service withdrawn
 

Bald Rick

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The West of England - Scotland sleeper was a huge train, loaded to 15 or more coaches IIRC. Very big demand - another excellent service withdrawn
There might have been demand at one point, but when i was involved with the sleeper team in the early 90s it was very poorly patronised. Yes it was busy on a few nights, generally in summer, but on most nights it ran almost empty.
 

Cowley

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The West of England - Scotland sleeper was a huge train, loaded to 15 or more coaches IIRC. Very big demand - another excellent service withdrawn
I travelled up to Scotland from Exeter on it (1S19) in 1988. More sleepers were added at Bristol Temple Meads making it up to 15/16 coaches.
It was a 47 to Birmingham, banked by a pair of 37s up Lickey, an 86 to Carstairs and then another 47 to Edinburgh on the Edinburgh portion. 5 locomotives involved. Wonderful. :smile:
 

ChiefPlanner

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Certainly in the early 1980's , the combined EUS - Manchester and Liverpool overnight train (which carried a rake of vans etc) , split at Crewe.

One morning , due to an oversight , the split was done too far forward at the North End , so the 2 sleepers for Liverpool went to Manc Town. At that place , some frantic and quiet shunting went on and the SLP's were run as a special to Liverpool in the desperate hours, and one hopes nobody noticed (Apart from the staff at Crewe who no doubt had some very embarrasing 1 on 1 interviews with the Area Manager)
 

dubscottie

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I have a window label from the Edinburgh/Glasgow to Plymouth sleeper.

It left Edinburgh and called at Glasgow, Birmingham NS, Bristol TM, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter, Newton Abbot & Plymouth.

I think the final nail in the coffin for that sleeper was the Royal Navy pulling out of Rosyth in the mid 90's and it didn't really fit with any of the then new TOCs.
 

flymo

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The Manchester - Euston sleeper in the '84/'85 TT departed at 00:30 and arrived Euston at 04:46. The berths however could be occupied at 23:30 - 07:30 so you could have a bit of a lie in.
 

Bletchleyite

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The Manchester - Euston sleeper in the '84/'85 TT departed at 00:30 and arrived Euston at 04:46. The berths however could be occupied at 23:30 - 07:30 so you could have a bit of a lie in.
"The berths however could be occupied at 23:30 - 07:30 so you could have 3 hours and 44 minutes of sleep, split into two parts - 23:30 to 00:30 and 04:46 to 07:30" :D

(I love the adventure of a good night train, but not if I've got anything vaguely involving thinking the day afterwards)
 

muddythefish

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I travelled up to Scotland from Exeter on it (1S19) in 1988. More sleepers were added at Bristol Temple Meads making it up to 15/16 coaches.
It was a 47 to Birmingham, banked by a pair of 37s up Lickey, an 86 to Carstairs and then another 47 to Edinburgh on the Edinburgh portion. 5 locomotives involved. Wonderful. :smile:
Brilliant. Those were the days. Reminds me of catching the mail/newspaper trains (which always had a few coaches attached) out of KX in the 1980s. Class 47 went all round the wilds of Lincolnshire before dumping me in Darlington at about 6am
 
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There might have been demand at one point, but when i was involved with the sleeper team in the early 90s it was very poorly patronised. Yes it was busy on a few nights, generally in summer, but on most nights it ran almost empty.
I used the West Country to Glasgow Sleeper a couple of times in the late 1970s to get from Wigan to an early start in Glasgow. The train called at Wigan NW around 01.40 IIRC, and I was in the seats, not in the beds.

It was certainly busy on the occasions I used it, to the extent it could be a struggle to get the last seat in a group of 4 in the Mk1 TSOs.

As a long-haired, bearded student (travelling overnight to avoid accommodation costs) it was always "fun" to spend a night with the crowds of Scottish sailors, apparently heading home on leave and getting stuck into their rum ration. These were the days when servicemen - and they were all men on the occasions I was on the train - travelled to and from leave in uniform, before some IRA atrocity put a stop to that. Probably supports the observation that patronage was killed off when the RN traffic ended.

After a couple of these trips, I found travelling north on a day train and getting a cheap bed at the Glasgow YHA hostel was a more palatable experience.
 
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Not really. Those were the days when the railway offered a different service. One suited to the needs of the time. There would be no point offering so many sleeper trains today; the demand isn't there....[snip]
One feature of the era of the Liverpool/Manchester Sleeper was that, compared to today, the first daytime Inter-City trains started later in the morning, and the last departure in the evening was quite a bit earlier. This is on top of faster journey times now achievable with Pendolinos and the like.

In the 1970s/80s, anyone travelling from the north-west to London for the day couldn't schedule work meetings before at least 10am - because you didn't have any good options to get there in time. The first of the Inter-City "business" trains only got into Euston around the 09.30 - 09.45 mark, and for those travelling north from London to Manchester or Liverpool, it was usually an even later start.

The upside was it was a much more civilized business travel routine. There was no expectation that you could (therefore should) be out of bed at stupid o'clock and on board a train to London well before 6am. Instead you just got yourself to Runcorn, or Wigan or Wilmslow at a reasonable hour, before enjoying a full cooked breakfast in the dining car on the way south.

The downside was, if you really did need to be down south early in the day, you had to either risk a rough night's sleep on the Sleeper, then turning up tired and unshowered, or pay for a night away from home in a London hotel (in the days before bland-but-consistent Premier Inns and the like).

Some examples of first and last departures for 1980 & 2018 show why the short-haul Sleepers are no more:-

First departure Manchester Piccadilly to Euston
1980: 07.00
2018: 05.05 (arr. 07.26)

Last departure Euston to Manchester
1980: 20.25 (arr. 23.01)
2018: 23.00 (arr. 01.59)

First train Liverpool Lime St to Euston
1980: 06.22
2018: 05.26 (arr. 07.50)

Last train Liverpool Lime St to Euston:
1980: 19.05
2018: 20.48 (arr 23.43)
 
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Joe Paxton

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"The berths however could be occupied at 23:30 - 07:30 so you could have 3 hours and 44 minutes of sleep, split into two parts - 23:30 to 00:30 and 04:46 to 07:30" :D

(I love the adventure of a good night train, but not if I've got anything vaguely involving thinking the day afterwards)
Some of us can sleep on a sleeper no problem at all.
 
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One feature of the era of the Liverpool/Manchester Sleeper was that, compared to today, the first daytime Inter-City trains started later in the morning, and the last departure in the evening was quite a bit earlier. This is on top of faster journey times now achievable with Pendolinos and the like.
Not only that, running earlier and later 'day' services would inevitably poach passengers off the sleepers!

It's also easy to forget that running sleepers meant occupying platforms for about an hour at major termini during the morning peak whilst the passengers were turfed out. The GB WTT for May 1980 shows at least 8 overnight trains terminating at Euston. This included trains from Holyhead and Stranraer indicating the importance of the overland route to (N) Ireland - MoD link?
 

edwin_m

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It's also easy to forget that running sleepers meant occupying platforms for about an hour at major termini during the morning peak whilst the passengers were turfed out. The GB WTT for May 1980 shows at least 8 overnight trains terminating at Euston. This included trains from Holyhead and Stranraer indicating the importance of the overland route to (N) Ireland - MoD link?
With flying unaffordable to most and roads to both ports distinctly iffy, the rail-sea route would have had far more passengers in the 70s and 80s and that would explain why there was enough demand to warrant providing sleepers. I don't know much about the operations during the Troubles but I'd hazard a guess the forces provided their own transport rather than letting their troops find their own way across what was in part hostile territory.

The early business arrivals do in part explain why sleepers couldn't sit in Euston for so long but another factor is the quicker journey time of daytime trains giving earlier arrivals in the morning and later departures in the evening. The fact someone could be in London for an earlier meeting without staying over encouraged more people to do it, so more early trains were provided in a sort of virtuous circle for day trains (vicious circle for sleepers).

Then again, with the price of Anytimes these days I could probably shell out for a cheapish hotel in London the night before an early meeting and still save money compared with the early train, as well as having more chance of being awake and alert for the meeting.
 

scarby

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Those were the days when the railway offered a service.
Totally agree. The notion that sleepers have somehow been rendered obsolete by modern options is a complete con. The only way now to get to London (or the northern terminus) for 7.30 is to have to get up in the middle of the night or to have to travel the previous evening for a late arrival, taking away any possibility to enjoy that evening.
 

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