A trip on “The Stalybridge Flyer”

Four coaches empty to depotWith Friday off and a vague plan to go hiking in the Pennines, what better way to travel than by Parliamentary train? A rail service that only exists because it’s cheaper to run an occasional service than it is to go through an expensive closure procedure? Thankfully there’s just such a departure: the once-a-week Fridays-only 0922 service from Stockport to Stalybridge, providing the only passenger train that calls at Reddish South and Denton stations.

0922 to Stalybridge   Lots of seats

Come the allotted hour at Stockport platform 3, and the train arrives on time from the south. Two 2-car diesel “Pacer” units, though only the front two coaches are in use. With only three passengers on board today, we can spread out a bit.

Heaton Norris signal box   Reddish South

Leaving the mainline at Heaton Norris Junction at the slug-like speed of around 10mph, we speed up again until the first stop, Reddish South. Nice new Northern Rail signs, but no lighting.

Friend of Reddish South mural   Walking the dog

Reddish South may not get many trains but it has Friends with a capital “F”. Campaigners would like to see regular services to Manchester Victoria. A woman walks her dog on the embankment of a reservoir.

Arrival at Stalybridge   Stalybridge buffet

Two regulars board at Denton, but presumably don’t go to the expense of a return ticket. After a wrong-platform call at Guide Bridge, we arrive at Stalybridge. The famous buffet bar opens at 10am, although if you want a beer you’ll have to wait until 11am.

The Flyer used to run in the opposite direction, from Stalybridge to Stockport, on a Saturday morning. Now it departs Stockport and Reddish South a few minutes too early to be of use to the twirlies – the Greater Manchester pensioners who are allowed free travel on local trains, but not before 0930 on a weekday, hence “are we too early?” The empty coaches head off back to base: it’s a clever way of running trains back to the depot after the morning rush-hour, but hardly a useful service for locals.

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About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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7 Responses to A trip on “The Stalybridge Flyer”

  1. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    This particular route is used by many “railtour” specials.

  2. Shaun says:

    I think I read somewhere that Reddish South is the quietest station in the country, in terms of passenger numbers, which is hardly surprising.

    Of course, there have been a few proposals to send services along the line, although not stopping between Stalybridge and Stockport. Grand Central proposed a Huddersfield-Euston service a few years back but were knocked back by Virgin Trains, who were unhappy about losing passengers between Stockport and London. Then more recently, Alliance Rail have proposed a similar service starting from Leeds via Dewsbury and Huddersfield to Stockport and onto London calling at stops along the way in the Midlands.They want to start it in 2013 but it has gone a bit quiet, so it’s not looking possible at the moment.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      Is there not a “Friends of Reddish South Station” who are trying to raise the profile of this station on a local basis?

    • Chris M. Dickson says:

      One source suggests it was the third quietest in 2009/10, for what it’s worth. There’s so little between the parly-only stations that it’s quite likely that it has come top some year or other.

      Very fine blog, by the way, from the perspective of this Teesside visitor.

  3. Not sure if you know or not but theres @ least another 3 ghost stations in Manchester in fact the North West & Yorkshire / North East has the biggest amount of ghost train services in the country if you wanna see em / learn more check out my website @ theghoststationhunters.com

  4. Robert says:

    If Northern Rail have to run the train you would think that they would run it 10 minutes later in order to be of some service to the older members of the local community, the accountants in these profit driven companies can be so bloody minded, and penny wise and pound foolish.

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