Rail Replacement Buses
Those who remember the period when the line was closed for 9 months during the West Coast mainline refurbishment, will have been fearing that we'd be cut off but according to our admirable Station Adopter, David Stannard, so far, things have not been so bad.
Here's a brief synopsis.
The changes to train times booklet only shows Abellio 'all-station' stopping buses not the hourly ATW Crewe-Wilmslow-Stockport express coaches or the peak hour Virgin coaches (Northern's standard timetable Booklet 18 shows services of all operators on the Crewe-Manchester route).
David was impressed by the presence of Abellio staff in high visibility jackets monitoring operations (observed on my journey between Chelford and Crewe at Goostrey, Holmes Chapel, Sandbach and Crewe). There was apparently a parked coach acting as a control office in Goostrey station yard and reserve coaches parked on standby to provide additional capacity at strategic locations (was told that one would be there at Goostrey on Monday). Seemed to be well-planned organisation by Abellio.
Monitoring staff ensured coaches waited for departure at the scheduled times, but with no one at Chelford, the 06:29 to Crewe left 9 minutes early (but the 14:25 southbound and 06:18 and 14:18 northbound were all noted waiting to depart on time).
Drivers seemed to be navigating using their individual SatNavs and hence no consistent routing eg southbound from Holmes Chapel to Sandbach travelled by A50 but came back northbound via the M6 motorway. Particular issues with travelling down unsuitable narrow country lanes if not accessing Goostrey off the main road at Twemlow (confrontations saw two cars having to back-up). Because of the direct routings taken between Goostrey and Chelford the two northbound services David saw both arrived at Chelford at the southbound bus stop (to then reverse back into Stobarts entrance road on departure)
Let's hope for the best!
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