Thursday, 10 March 2016

Waiting for that fast service to Central ................ standing on the platform at Chorlton-cum-Hardy railway station

Now I am part of that generation that grew up with steam locomotives.

And I don’t mean those special heritage steam trains I mean the full on thing, when everything from the intercity express down to sedate suburban commuter links and the humble unromantic goods locos were all steam powered.

All of which makes this picture postcard of our station one to cherish particularly because there are very few of the inside of the station.

I don’t have a date for this one but it will be before 1926 when an aerial picture shows the station without the footbridge which the historian John Lloyd says was removed “to save the expense of maintaining it and the public had to use the road bridge.”**


So we have just 40 or so years to play with because the station was opened in 1880 and judging by  the quality of the picture postcard I am guessing we will be sometime in the early years of the last century.

And that quality allows you to focus in on the detail from the iron work under the bridge to the signs advising passengers to use the foot bridge to cross the tracks which proved particularly relevant after the death of Mary Jane Cockrill of Oswald Road in 1909 who was run down by "a fast train approaching the station."***

I don’t think you have to have an over vivid imagination to put yourself on that platform just over a century ago.

The place is empty save for the staff and the chap in the bowler hat who I suspect runs the kiosk, so we must be in one of those in between moments and given that there are no passenger either a train has just gone through or this is that long wait between the morning commuter rush and the evening return.

And for anyone who has ever been alone on a warm summer’s day waiting for a train the scene will be all too familiar.

There will be that silence punctuated by the odd noise from the road in the distance the clunck of a shutting engine and the sound of the platform clock.

And if you have timed it wrongly there could still be a hint of steam left from the departing train and the last solitary commuter making their way out up the approach path to Wilbraham Road.

Which means that you are left to idle the time away looking at the headlines from the newspaper posters, ponder on the promises being made by the adverts and perhaps spend a penny on that weighing machine.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, date unknown

Picture; Chorlton-cum-Hardy Railway Station, date unknown, courtesy of Mark Fynn***

*Looking Back At Chorlton-cum-Hardy, John Lloyd, 1985

**Woman Killed at Chorlton In front of a railway train, Manchester Guardian, January 11, 1909 although to be accurate her death was a suicide

***Manchester Postcards, http://www.manchesterpostcards.com/index.html, 



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