13th May 2001

Branch Line Society
Castleton and One

DMU Used 101691 & 101693 (formed 51253+53171+51192+53266)

Route :
2Z36 :  Manchester Victoria to Guide Bridge
2Z38 :  Guide Bridge to Manchester Victoria

DMU Route
51253 leading Manchester Victoria [P3] - Duncan Street Freight Terminal
53266 leading Duncan Street Freight Terminal - Manchester Victoria [P3]
51253 leading Manchester Victoria [P3] - Earlestown East Jn (Down Chat Moss)
53266 leading Earlestown East Jn - x-over to Up Chat Moss - Eccles West End (new connection onto loop) - Eccles - Weaste
51253 leading Weaste - Eccles
53266 leading Eccles - Manchester Piccadilly [P13] - Ardwick - Ashburys Arrival & Departure Line - Ashburys ARC Departure Line - Gorton - Guide Bridge (Up / Down Loop) - Hyde Jn - Dinting - Hadfield
51253 leading Hadfield - Hyde Jn (Down Main (booked Up / Down Loop again)) - Guide Bridge
53266 leading Guide Bridge - Guide Bridge East Jn (Up / Down Loop)
51253 leading Guide Bridge East Jn - Avenue Sdgs (Line 1)
53266 leading Avenue Sdgs - Guide Bridge - Ashburys - Philips Park Jn - Brewery Curve - Brewery Jn - Oldham - Rochdale - Manchester Victoria

Notes :
(1) Track requested and/or scheduled (and subsequently refused - up to the day before!!)
Astley Crossover, Castleton Triangle, Collyhurst Street Sidings

Sources : Phil Pearson (on the train throughout) & Alan Sheppard

Tour Review
(from Phil Pearson)

After a mega Saturday on the Freightliner Phoenix, Sunday offers the Branch Line Society's "Castleton and One" railtour. Initially to take First North Western's green Class 101 (affectionately christened "Daisy") on a tour of the lesser known parts of the Manchester rail network before its withdrawal. On the day, subsequent to Daisy's demise, two Strathclyde liveried examples are substituted.

Due to the current railtour procurement process, and despite detailed submission of the proposed route before the 14 week deadline, several sections sadly had to be omitted for various reasons - some making more sense than others. Not to worry, the sun is out and the day is warm, so armed with a rather excellent tour map supplied to the participants, at 11:32 off we go.

The first rare track we cover is the Duncan Street Freight Terminal, once home of Otis Transrail and now Creative Logistics. We go to the far (west) end of the site enabling the resident 0-6-0 shunters, 01552 (Thomas Hill - 167v/1966) and the partially hidden 07001 (ex British Rail D2985, owned by Harry Needle) to be seen. Then following the passing of a Class 142, we retrace our steps to Manchester Victoria and our second reversal - damned useful these DMUs!!

Our next bit of rare track was to have been the crossover at Astley signal box in the middle of Chat Moss. However this was pulled from the schedule on the Friday, so we had to carry on to Earlestown West Junction to make a reverse manoeuvre. Even on a Sunday, normal trains make a reversal here a tight proposition as prior to Earlestown East Junction we are checked by a North Wales - Manchester service, and following the reversal we in turn check a Manchester - Liverpool service.

We return across Chat Moss, noting the remains of the old line to Astley Green Colliery, the headgear of which is visible in the distance, to Patricroft and slowing to use the recently relaid Goods Loop enabling us to run directly on to the Weaste branch. A slow traversal of the branch occurs, with the train stopping approx. 100 yards south of the A57 (and Metrolink) overbridge.

After obligatory reversals at Weaste and Eccles, we make our way through Deansgate to Manchester Piccadilly. Drat! A platform announcement says that all services are delayed by a points failure just south of the station. Our next move is across the whole of the station throat to access the Ardwick line. But after 20 minutes or so sitting at Manchester Piccadilly, watching lorries below, manoeuvring with parts for the new station entrance, the signal clears and we're off on our way again, much to everyone's relief.

A request had been made for the Goods Line between Ardwick and Gorton, around the back of Ashburys station and by the stone terminal, and this loop is duly covered. Onward to Guide Bridge, then we travel over the Up and Down Goods loop, between there and Hyde Junction before scuttling up to Hadfield and back, this move unusual by diesel train. Due to prevailing Sunday train services the Glossop branch can't be covered today though. The remains of the staff halt at Mottram Yard are noted.

Originally a PNB was scheduled for our crew at back at Guide Bridge, but by now we're approx. 1 hour down and the crew agree to reduce their break in order to make up some time. This is interpreted by Railtrack as going straight back to Piccadilly - ARRGH!!

We stop at Guide Bridge, the problem is sorted out, and we reverse back into the Up and Down Goods Loop we traversed earlier. Another reversal produces the Guide Bridge East Jct. - Avenue Sidings curve, wanted by many. I must say I thought trains would never use this line again, let alone me be on the one that does - but there you go!

We reverse again, and back to Guide Bridge - where the importance of the last section of line to the relevant bashers shows, as at least 40% of the passengers get off. I still need the Brewery curve however, so I stay on the tour. Having got the right away we retrace our route to Ashburys, and diverge right on to the Philips Park line. Despite carrying a blanket 20 mph limit we're soon at Philips Park and slipping over on to the Brewery curve. This little section of track, some 24 chains long, is all over and done with in perhaps some 40 seconds, I've probably spent over 25 years trying (on and off) to get this curve - with such little time you just can't take it all in and savour the moment before its all over and done with can you?

Diverging right at Thorpes Bridge Jct. enabling one side of Newton Heath depot to be griced, we commence the climb to Oldham. A swift run round the Oldham loop followed (albeit with a ten minute check at Shaw & Crompton for the single line ahead to clear), then a spirited run (except through Rochdale) via Castleton and Vitriol Works back to Newton Heath (more gricing), where a red signal holds us until the Shaw train appears (having run the opposite way around the Oldham loop) which we follow to Miles Platting. Despite inclusion in the timing sheet, the sidings at Collyhurst Street are not to be covered, which begs the question, since their relaying in the Miles Platting etc., scheme some three years ago, has this new track ever actually been used by a train? We then continue down the hill into Manchester Victoria  and the end of the tour. A good afternoon's railtouring.

With many thanks to the officers of the BLS and the railway personnel involved with this railtour - your efforts were most appreciated.

Phil Pearson

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Phil Pearson)



Booked Actual
0.00 Manchester Victoria [P3] 11:30d 11:32d
1.13 Ordsall Lane Jn ? 11/36
1.50 Duncan Street Freight Term. 11.39 ~ 11.44 11.39 ~ 11.42
2.07 Ordsall Lane Jn ? 11.46 ~ 11.53
3.20 Manchester Victoria [P3] 11.54 ~ 11.59 11.59 ~ 12.05
4.33 Ordsall Lane Jn ? 12/11
7.24 Eccles ? 12/14
8.24 Patricroft ? 12/15
12.16 Astley 12.12a ~ 12/20
18.14 Parkside Jn ? 12/26
20.19 Earlestown East Jn ? 12.35 ~ 12.45
22.24 Parkside Jn ? 12/50
28.22 Astley ~ 12.17d 12/56
32.14 Patricroft ? 13/00
33.14 Eccles ? 13/03
33.78 Weate RT Boundary 12.33 ~ 12.38 13.09 ~ 13.15
34.62 Eccles 12.48 ~ 12.53 13.24 ~ 13.28
37.53 Ordsall Lane Jn ? 13/35
38.14 Castlefield Jn ? 13/37
38.52 Manchester Oxford Road ? 13/42
39.16 Manchester Piccadilly [P13] 13/05 13.44a ~ 13.59d
39.68 Ardwick Jn ? 14/02
40.51 Ashburys West Jn ? 14/06
40.71 Ashburys East Jn ? 14/08
41.69 Gorton ? 14/15
44.11 Guide Bridge ? 14/19
45.22 Guide Bridge UDL 13/20 14/24
47.35 Godley East (Junction) ? 14/33
51.07 Dinting ? 14/47
51.76 Hadfield 13.46a ~13.51d 14p50a ~ 14p55d
52.65 Dinting ? 14/57
56.05 Godley East (was Godley Junction) ? 15/08
58.09 Hyde Jn ? 15/12
58.64 Guide Bridge UDL 14/13 Down Main
59.20 Guide Bridge DIV 15.15 ~ 15.24
59.56 Guide Bridge East Jn DIV 15.26 ~ 15.29
60.29 Avenue Sidings 14.20 ~ 14.30 15.31 ~ 15.41
60.71 Guide Bridge 14.46a ~ 16.16d 15.43a ~ 15.48d
64.11 Ashburys East Jn 16/23 15/52
64.31 Ashburys West Jn ? 15/53
-- Beswick Jn ? 15/57
66.19 Philips Park No.2 ? 15/59
66.47 Philips Park No.1 ? 16/00
66.74 Brewery Jn 16/45 16/02
67.44 Thorpes Bridge Jn ? 16/04
72.62 Oldham Mumps 17/00 16/12
75.32 Shaw & Crompton ? 16p18a ~ 16p27d
79.76 Rochdale ? 16/35
81.43 Castleton ? 16/37
85.48 Vitriol Works 17/18 16/41
88.15 Thorpes Bridge Jn ? 16/48
89.02 Miles Platting 17*28 ~ 17*35 16/49
-- Collyhurst Street Sdgs 17.40 ~ 17.50 DIV
-- Miles Platting 17*55 (rev) 18*03 DIV
90.32 Manchester Victoria [P4] 18:07a 16:52a

All distances, in miles and chains (M & C) have been extrapolated from Quail/SA.
No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given (estimates in italics).

Back to "The Railtour Files"