Monday, 9 October 2017

A Missive From Marple (1)

Streetmap offers various Marples, all, loosely, part of the same community. Once in the county of Cheshire, the town now resides in Greater Manchester and lies to the east of Stockport.
It has two railway stations, one called Rose Hill (formerly Rose Hill Marple, formerly formerly Marple Rose Hill) ...
... now reduced to a minimalist single track terminus ...
... but originally continuing via Bollington to Macclesfield.

Irrelevant but Fascinating Fact Department
Between 1921 and 1935 an additional "commuter" shuttle service operated between Bollington and Macclesfield, provided by a petrol-electric railcar known as ...
... the Bollington Bug! It was replaced by a more conventional (for the time) steam railcar.

The other Marple station (called simply Marple) is located at the other end of the town, close to Marple Bridge.
Yet again, the history of railways in the Stockport area is complex!
Even today, things take a bit of getting used to!

The Monday to Friday service pattern provides four trains an hour to "greater Marple".
Two run via Guide Bridge and Romily to Rose Hill, whilst two serve Reddish North and Romily and continue to New Mills Central. Just to keep passengers alert and on their toes, the Saturday pattern is different!
On Sundays there is an hourly train of sorts ...
... but nothing to Rose Hill and even this reduces to two-hourly from the beginning of November. 

But globetrotting Sheffielder, Roy, has been to Marple station and has provided some intriguing piccies which provoked fbb's interest in the "commuter" station.

Needless to say, the station was bigger and more well endowed than it is today. Access was (and still is) from Brabyns Brow, a continuation of  Station Road. The up platform has a dinky little entrance building ...
... but a little further along the road was a footbridge across the rail link to the goods yard which led to the down platforms; maybe a bit clearer in the next view.
There was also a footbridge at the far end linking the two platforms, seen here from a lower level.
With the disappearance of all of its long distance passenger traffic, four platforms were no longer necessary ...
... and the whole station was rebuilt ...
... in the early 1970s amidst much celebration ...
... and an amusing farewell picture!
Tomorrow's blog looks at the station "now" and our special treat will be a leaflet rack containing bus timetables.

Joy of joys? Or not?

 Next Marple blog - Tuesday 10th October 


  1. Firstly, congratulations to FBB on his 2500th (and indeed 2501st blog).

    Catching up on yesterday's blog (and a recurring theme) is the bemoaning of the lack of some weighty bus timetable tome in preference to what is available on line. The view that nothing has changed over the last 7 years as bus timetables are still insufficient, or availability worse.

    Prescient as I caught up with my "homeland" and stumbled onto the story (via the online Darlington and Stockton Times) about tourism in Leyburn in North Yorkshire. Located in the centre of Wensleydale, it is a tourist hub though not overly touristy itself. The local council decided to close the TIC in 2011 though an alternative facility opened in a guest house, supported by volunteers. However, it too is now closing.

    "Boo Hiss", I hear you cry. Madness, in a tourist area. "Travesty, stupidity, you couldn't make it up". So why is it closing? Lack of funds? Lack of supporters? Lack of money? Lack of premises?

    No, as the guest house owners said "“We had the same thought as most people that the loss of the service would be seriously detrimental to the town.”

    “We were overwhelmed with the support the project was given. We had an amazing group of people who were willing to give up their time.”

    Instead, it was a simple lack of punters as "over the first year (2011) they had 22,000 visitors but by 2015 this figure dropped to around 7,000. And what caused this...

    The guest house owners said “There has been a continuous decline in footfall over the seven-year period, during which time smart phones, tablets and the mobile internet have transformed the way visitors access tourist information.”

    That is the fact and the idea that people aren't using online means and that they find it more convenient is frankly just not borne out.

    I appreciate that there are people who prefer to have a hard copy, comprehensive timetable. However, the world has moved on and many, many more find that archaic and are much happier to go online even with their smartphone.

    However, I would like to wish FBB all the best and trust that he will be around for blog 5000 in another 7 years. I may not always agree with FBB, but I compliment him on his efforts to entertain and educate!

  2. A very interesting post. I notice with some surprise that there used to be a chord NW-wards from Romiley by-passing Bredbury to join the Woodley to Brinnington Jn line, also now defunct. I'd be interested to know what alignment this took as there's certainly no obvious sign of it these days.

    BTW, FBB, if you haven't already done it, you need to travel on the Denton Flyer on Friday mornings. There's a real community atmosphere on the train.