The Railways and Industry Series, Volume 3: Rail Freight North West England
A highly illustrated portrait of rail freight in a major industrial region over the last 40 years.
This book illustrates the changing face of rail freight in North West England over forty years. During that time the traction and wagon fleets have been almost completely replaced, freight trains have become heavier and less frequent, the amount of shunting and trip working has been dramatically reduced, and most small freight terminals have closed.
Perhaps the most striking loss has been freight from the oil and chemicals complex around Ellesmere Port and Stanlow. The former ICI complex around Northwich has lost almost all its rail traffic. On the Cumbrian coast, just nuclear traffic remains after the loss of coal, steel and chemicals traffic. The network of freight-only lines has taken a hit in recent decades.
However, not all the change has been negative: we now have biomass on rail, increased intermodal traffic and significant growth in stone from the Buxton area. The Settle to Carlisle line deserves a special place because of its remarkable recovery from the threat of closure in the 1980s. Another success story is stone traffic from three quarries in the Buxton area.
The coverage of this book stretches from Cheshire to the Scottish border. It includes the Buxton area because it always been associated with the North West even though it lies in Derbyshire. The ten chapters are arranged on broadly geographical lines, but the chapter titles should not be taken too literally. For example, in the Greater Manchester chapters it makes sense to include some locations beyond the metropolitan county boundary. Conversely Wigan lies in Greater Manchester but in railway terms it is more closely associated with Warrington.
Softback, 96 pages, over 150colour photographs
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Updated: 1 June 2020