Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Former NSR station reopenings on the table - Plus a few others!!!

Stoke on Trent city council (The council) is looking at the possibility of reopening former NSR stations on the Stoke - Derby line, namely Fenton, Normacot and Meir. The council also said they were interested in opening stations at "Trentham lakes", "Chatterley valley" and "Etruria valley".
This would be excellent news. However, with all plans on this scale it could be decades away. Such stations would obviously create more options for people in and out of the area and whilst possibly taking, say, 10% of Stoke stations passenger figures, would overall, bring more people IN TOTAL to the railway. Planners, investors and businesses look favourably on transport links and so this would benefit the area greatly.
Another good point is the fact that the only realistic site for "Trentham lakes" station would be the site of the original NSR Trentham station which in my mind is the same as it being reopened!!!
BUT, the one terrible point to note from this is that the "Etruria valley" station will REPLACE Longport and Etruria stations. Etruria is already closed, by stealth, and this ends any hopes that it could possibly be reopened! Unfortunately, Etruria station was closed just before a new housing estate for thousands of people was opened! The current Longport station would close also!

On a lighter note, plans are ahead to provide an hourly service from Birmingham to Manchester, stopping at Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stone, Stoke, possibly Kidsgrove, Congleton, Macclesfield, Prestbury, Adlington, Poynton, Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme and Stockport. There is also the possibility of reviewing the former Stoke - Stafford local service stopping at Norton bridge, Stone, Barlaston and Wedgwood. Stops at these could be put into the aforementioned hourly service.
In my opinion, to make this service as successful as possible it should stop at Norton bridge, Barlaston, Wedgwood, Etruria and Longport for certain as this gives more people more destinations. Lets wait and see what happens!

For more information on the Manchester to Birmingham local service follow this link:

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Yet more bad news for the Crewe - Derby local service

It has been announced that Stoke and Stafford stations are to get multi story car parks. The intention is to attract more passengers to use rail. Thats great, but as part of the west coast mainline projects, an extra third Virgin trains service will go through Stoke on top of the two an hour that already pass through Stoke en route to Manchester. This extra third train an hour will go via Crewe rather than Macclesfield. This further reduces availiable paths for the local Crewe-Derby service.
To summarise, Longport station does not stand any chance of getting a service. And the chances are that the other stations served by the local services will be affected. This is a step towards closure, no doubt. So if you live in Alsager, Kidsgrove, Longport, Longton, Blythe bridge, Uttoxeter or Tutbury and Hatton, then your service will be affected. The only thing that can be done now is to encourage use.
To help, tell people that you know, of the hourly service at the stations listed and maybe direct them to the Central trains website ( if they are connected to the internet. Timetable enquiries can be made by telephone, by calling National rail on 08457 48 49 50 .

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Etruria station closed - Friday, 30th of September 2005

Etruria station was closed on Friday the 30th of September 2005.

The final train was Northern Trains Unit 323226 which left at 07.16.

Many campaigners and others stood with placards bearing messages such as "Death of a station" and "first Etruria - where next?". One person handed the driver a wreath.

Comments on the running down of the service, were made. Also, how many more people would use the service if it was better marketed.

Susan Dawson from the North Staffordshire public transport users forum said how congestion in the city is horrendous. She also said: "We do feel quite emotional today".

David Redgewell of Transport 2000 said: "Nowhere in Europe would the government close a railway station when they are building new houses right next to it."

But Etruria has now been closed despite all the obvious reasons for keeping it (traffic, new housing estate), but it was probably destined to happen years before with Richard Branson using money to bribe the right people into letting his through services have a virtual monoploy on the line and with local services being cut massively.

Also, they claimed that the main reason for closure was because of it having 'less than 22 passengers a day. According to the Times there are 300 stations across the network with fewer than 22 passengers a day and 150 with fewer than 7.

Etruria station is the first to be closed under the new Labour government (since 1997)

Etruria station

9th of October 1848 - 30th of September 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005


Etruria closure in final stages!!!

Yesterday transport minister Derek Twigg confirmed the closure of Etruria.
Etruria station was due for closure earlier in 2004 but it was halted after 66 letters of objection were received from residents. He said removing the station would cost around £9 million whilst the cost of keeping the station would be around £13 million (see points below). In a letter to the Central trains managing director he said:
"Closing the station and removing it would allow the tracks to be realigned to increase speeds for through trains and so deliver shorter journey times benefitting passengers (see points below) valued at £3 million per annum".

What a load of rubbish!

Many representatives of local transoprt groups and indeed other groups shouted out against this closure saying things like:

"it stinks..."

"[the government] are purely focused on getting people from Manchester to London as quickly as possible"

"a local service would be extremely useful when you consider the congestion around that area"

Things to note here:

- benefit which passengers

- There is a traffic problem

- It is just for the through services

- their figures are seriously wrong

- there has been no investment

In Mr Twigg's letter he talks about it benefitting passengers - I wonder who he is talking about!!!

As discussed in the post below this, local stopping services are being sacraficed for through serices, namely Mr Branson's pendolinos. I have talked to people who work on the railways now, and all have criticised Branson saying how he always gets his way in terms of when and where services are run.

Next, how does removing an island platform save, who ever they are, £3 million pounds a year. The tracks will be slightly closer together (but not too close because of the bridge support!!!), speeds will be increased slightly but that is it. Trains still have to slow down not far from Etruria because Stoke is not far away....

All we can do now is PROTEST!!! (we can't sit and hope...)

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Stone station looks safe - but it looks like closure for Barlaston and Norton bridge

The citizens of Stone are lucky - the strategic rail authority (SRA) has stated than services to Stone will be reinstated as soon as possible. Stone station had previously been closed for months on the basis of low passenger numbers. BUT Barlaston, Norton bridge and Etruria stations are set for closure for the same reason. One person noticed how many senior members of the SRA came from London and others came from far away and said that this is a test to see if the SRA can get away with closures elsewhere. That meeting was yesterday - and now we wait and hope. OK passenger numbers MAY be lower than desired but the MAIN reason for these closures is to save time. - local stopping trains will no longer have to, well, stop..... But this is NOT right. The reason for such low numbers is the fact that they are running down the service. From 2 coaches to 1. Once every half hour to once an hour. A perfect example of this is on the Stoke to Derby line. The key to improving passenger numbers is a 1 coach service every 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Maybe 2 or 3 coaces at peak times.

But if the SRA are successful, it looks like they will move on to the Stoke to Derby line and close more local routes.


The section of line from Stoke to Norton bridge was the first opened by the North Staffordshire Railway on the 17th of April 1848. Stoke, Trentham, Barlaston, Stone and Norton bridge stations were all opened in time for this date and the first sevice hauled by No.1 Dragon.

Barlaston station under the NSR

Norton bridge station

Etruria station under the NSR

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Welcome - An introduction to the North Staffordshire Railway company

The North Staffordshire Railway company has it's roots in an early scheme to build a small plateway from the base of the Cauldon canal up to Cauldon quarries. Both of the two aforementioned things are still in use, with the Cauldon canal joining up with the Trent and Mersey canal at Etruria.

As well as the canals, other schemes were being promoted. The Staffordshire potteries railway promoted a route from Macclesfield to the mainline at Colwich plus a spur to Crewe and The Churnet valley scheme promoted a line from Macclesfield to Derby. After these two companies applied for the necessary powers to build the lines, parliament suggested a pause of a year 'to afford time for consideration and for maturing some more complete scheme for the accommodation of that important district'.

This was advantageous to the SPR who formed the North Staffordshire Railway company.

North Staffordshire Railway company

- incorporated in April, 1845 with a share capital of £2,350,000 in £20 shares (117,500 shares)
- first prospectus: 30th apr 1845 issued from, 1 Old palace yard, Westminster.

After forming the SPR was absorbed so as to avoid 'powerful opposition or ruinous competition if both lines had been passed'. The prospectus promoted the NSR's 3 main lines 'giving the most ample accommodation to the towns of Tunstall, Burslem, Newcastle-under-lyme, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton, Longton and Stone'.

Due to the obvious competition this line would provide for the Trent and Mersey canal, the NSR and the T&M came into agreement that the NSR should pay £30 a share for all the T&M shares, and from the 15th of January 1846, the whole canal including the Cauldon branch, Cauldon quarries, and the plateway, was leased to the NSR.

On the 25th of November 1845 the Derby and Crewe Railway was absorbed giving the NSR the basis on which to submit plans for construction. On the 26th of June 1846, the 3 NSR acts were passed with the £2,900,000 share capital being shared amongst the 3 lines as shown:

- Pottery line act (Macclesfield to Colwich and Norton bridge and Silverdale to Crewe) £1,500,000 of capital

- Harecastle and Sandbach act (from Harecastle to Sandbach) £200,000 of capital

- Churnet valley line act (from North rode to Burton and Uttoxeter to Stoke) £1,200,000 of capital

- 7 years allowed to fulfill each act.

Then, to start the construction work, there was an official 'cutting of the first sod' ceremony. The site chosen was a field in Etruria. There was a roped - off enclosure for directors and the rest for reserved guests. There was a mile long procession headed by John Lewis Ricardo. On his arrival crowds broke through the roped off area and Ricardo was pushed and shoved. During the actual cutting he buckled the silver spade and had difficulty removing the sod. His hat later blew away.

By February 1847, 1,318 men and 60 horses were working between Macclesfield and Colwich and had removed 80,000 cubic yds of earth, driven 843 yds of tunnel heading and erected 12,000yds of fencing.

Then on the 3rd of April 1848 the first goods sevice ran and on the 17th of April 1848 the first passenger train left the temporary Stoke station at Wheildon road, hauled by no.1 'Dragon' heading for Norton bridge. profits for the first 2 months were £1,668 'exceeding expectations'.

From this point on the rest of these 3 lines were opened in stages and other lines opened up to 1911. The new stoke station was opened on the 9th of October 1848.

The NSR was absorbed into the LMS on the 1st of July 1923.

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