Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Midland - Mid Cheshire review 1

Southport train at Chester Railway Station

25/4/10 Chester to Stockport
Weather: Cloudy
Traction used: 2 car class 150 DMU
Train Operating Company: Northern
Dept: Chester 08.58
Arrive: Stockport

The train I get goes all the way to Southport, albeit in a roundabout way via Manchester Piccadilly. It leaves from platform 5, a bay paltform at Chester Staation, which is currently undergoing a revamp, with parts of this platform closed. The track to crewe goes off on the right as we go north eastwards along the track to Warrington and into a low cutting. We pass houses on the right and parkland on the left, moving uphill slightly. There are lots of daffodils growing in the cutting and we go under the A5?? The cutting goes and we are out into open countryside fr the first time. We pass under the old freight line form Shotton and then stop at a red light. The driver has to get out and ring the signalman, before he can proceed. After a few minutes wait, we proceed off the Warrington line and past ? signal box onto the signal track towards Northwich. we go onto a high embankment, with houses on the left and fields on the right, as it starts to get hilly. we then go into a cutting with cattle grazing on both sides as we go onto an embankment again. it is quite flat on the left hand side, but quite undulating on the right. We enter a cutting as the line becomes two tracks again, and we arrive at Mouldsworth station. There is a lovely large brick station building on the right and a smaller boarded up building on the left side. We move out onto an embankment once again and there are more trees on both sides as we start to pass through Delamere Forest. This continues for the next couple of miles and at the other end we come to a halt at Delamere station. It is very similar to Mouldsworth station and also has two brick shelters on both platforms. We move off into a cutting and continue to pass through more of Delamere forest, with the right side still being hilly. this is a very picturesque part of Cheshire. Houses then appear on the left as we come to stop at Cuddington? station, which has the tidiest station award? with flowers in tubs. There is a red brick shelter on the right and a large station building on the left. We pass through a cutting and then onto an embankment, reaching about 60 mph on unwelded track. We go over the West Coast mainline and then a spur from it joins us on the left. Houses appear on the left and then we go into a short cutting, before arriving at Greenbank station. there is the same style red brick shelter on the right and a boarded up station building on the left. Three people are waiting to get on, the first passengers so far on this journey. There is a signal box on the left, just beyond the platform. We pass more houses on both sides, before a single track goes off on the left and joins us We move onto a high embankment and go slowly over the ? viaduct, over the river Weaver. There are parks on either side of the track below us and then we stop at Northwich. It has a large yellow brick station building on the left. Lines join us both before and after the station. There is a large soda ash factory on the right and beyond that, a car storage area. Next up is Lostock Gralam station, which has just a perspex shelter on the left and nothing on the right? We then move out into the countryside again and pass woods on our left, before it becomes open fields once more. Houses soon appear again, as we arrive at Plumley station. It has a large station house on the right, which is now a private dwelling and the usual bus stop on the left. It is right in the middle of the countryside, with no houses to be seen. We then move up onto an embankment and cross over the M6. There are flat open fields on both sides, but this doesn't last long, as houses start to appear on both sides as we come into Knutsford station. It has a very large station building on the right platform, and a smaller brick building on the left. As least twenty people are waiting on the platform. We move out onto an embankment and then go into a cutting, passing factory units on the left and houses on the right. We then enter another cutting, passing through a wooded area. You can see the planes taking off from Manchester airport on the right side. we then slow as we pass a signal box and come into Mobberley station. It has two basic shelters and the original station building on the right. The train then moves into a cutting, before emerging to very flat land and then passing through ashley? station on left? we go under the M? and pass houses on both sides then stop at Hale station. It has it's original red brick station buildings with a nice canopy on the ? We leave Hale, going into a cutting and then a track joins us on the right? and we come into Altringham sttaion, which is the biggest sttaion on the line, with four platforms. Two of them are the terminus of the metro tram lines. We leave on the other line and with the tram line running paralle to us. we then stop at navigation Road, before levaing the Metro line on the left and turning due east to pas through the south Manchester suburbs. Summary: