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Station prepares for travellers' return

Prominent large polystyrene poster boards were attached by ties to some of the platform posts on Saturday. The posters, in Northern colours, state that passengers should keep 2m apart and travel at off-peak times whenever possible.

Our station reporter, David, tells us that the Department for Transport has notified all franchised operators that the full normal service timetable is to be reintroduced from 6th July. There is some doubt about their ability to do this with some staff not working due to either self-vulnerability or the vulnerability of close family who they live with.

At present, we already have a near normal service at Chelford on weekdays other than a slightly late morning start and earlier evening finish (Northern currently just running all trains from Crewe to Manchester via Stockport and none via the Airport, with it being the latter which normally omit Chelford and Goostrey anyway).

There are apparently however issues with the availabilty of some of the new CAF trains manufactured in Spain, as some of the CAF specialists returned home to Spain before the lockdown so as not to be trapped here in the UK. There is also reputed to be an unavailability of spare parts due to now-broken production and supply chains.

And David tells us that the "good news" is that in order to run as large train formations as possible, Northern have apparently been given permission to reinstate 13 Class 142 Pacers to operate in the NorthWest until the end of the year (wherever practicable coupled to PPM-compliant Class 150s) along with 20 also non-PPM compliant Class 144 Pacers around Leeds and in the North East. So once more, you'll be able to thrill to the roar of ancient diesel engines and the rattle of loose rivets as rain pours in through the join between coaches.

The CIS screens also state that capacity is limited (with some seating inside carriages marked off as not for use to try and maintain social distancing) and that face-coverings should be worn when travelling by train.

In summary, things may slowly start to assume what looks like a 'normal' service on the trains albeit socially-distanced and with appropriate measures for keeping everyone safe.

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