REALLY SideTracked – Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Flanders and Swann Slow Train event No 8
A geocaching meet-up between 3.00pm and 3.30pm on Sunday 21st July, at the entrance to Chorlton tram stop, the site of the old station. This will be a themed event - it would be good to see if we can return cats, porters and milk-churns to the station. If you can provide any of these, please bring them along for a photograph. However this is not essential!
This is the next in a series of SideTracked events based on the song Slow Train by Flanders and Swann. Written in 1963, the song laments the closure of many stations and railway lines under the Beeching cuts of that era.
"No churns, no porter, no cat on a seat,
At Chorlton-cum-Hardy or Chester-le-Street
We won't be meeting again, on the Slow Train."
Chorlton-cum-Hardy station in 1926.
(Photo by H C Casserley.)
Chorlton-cum-Hardy railway station opened on 1 January 1880 by the Midland Railway, later became Cheshire Lines Committee and closed on 2 January 1967 as part of the Beeching Axe, though the line through Fallowfield remained open to freight until the 1980s. Until the mid-20th century the station yard supplied coal to the district. Land to the north-east of the track originally acquired for the purpose of doubling it was eventually sold off for development.
Chorlton station was subsequently demolished and a supermarket and car park built in its place, although the track bed remained extant to the side of the supermarket and part of one of the platforms survives next to the supermarket building. The derelict line became overgrown until 2001, when the track bed of the old Fallowfield Loop Line branch running east of Chorlton towards Alexandra Park and Fallowfield was converted to the Fallowfield Loop cycle track. Today, the route is run by Sustrans and forms part of Routes 6 and 60 of the National Cycle Network. The remaining Cheshire Lines Committee lines from Chorlton from Manchester Central towards Disbury remained disused and overgrown for another 10 years.
Chorlton tram stop in 2011
Proposals to link Chorlton to a light rail system had been put forward since the 1980s, but remained unfunded for over 20 years. The extension that was originally proposed would have taken over the disused tracks of the Cheshire Lines Committee as far as East Didsbury.
In 2006, it was announced that the first phase of the "Big Bang" Metrolink expansion project (Phase 3A) would go ahead, including the extension to St Werburgh's Road. Following the rejection of the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund in a public referendum in 2008, extension of the line to East Didsbury (Phase 3B) was completed with funding from national and local government.
Construction of the line began in April 2009 and it opened in July 2011. The first services towards East Didsbury began in June 2013.
The event will allow like-minded cachers to meet up to chat, discover and swap trackables.
Related web pages:
(Background images - Donald Swann and Michael Flanders in concert, 1966; disused track near Dunstable Town station in 2006, copyright Nigel Cox, CC-by-SA)