RAIL CHRONOLOGY : MAINDEE CURVE : passenger closure
Page updated: 10 January 2014
Passenger closure of the Maindee curve, Newport, GwentThis north-to-east curve, to the east of Newport High Street station, provides a means of running trains between the Crewe-Shrewsbury-Hereford line (the so-called north and west line) and the Severn Tunnel for points in the south-west of England, without the need for reversing in the Newport, Gwent area. It was in daily use by passenger trains between the north and south-west until the route's down-grading with the diversion of most such through traffic via Birmingham New Street. From 6 March 1967 the service was reduced by the diversion, via Newport station, of the daytime round trip between Liverpool and Plymouth, leaving one overnight round trip between Manchester and Penzance, but bolstered during summers with weekend services between the north-west and south-west, and with Motorail services. From 4 May 1970 the daily overnight round trip was withdrawn but the summer weekend services continued to operate until summer season 1982, then leaving as the last regularly scheduled "passenger" service the Newton Abbot - Stirling Motorail service which was withdrawn after the final trip, on 29 September, of its 1984 summer season. The line was then without regular passenger service until resuscitated from Saturday 4 October 1997. The only services booked that winter were: 1418 Saturdays Waterloo - Manchester and 1325 Sundays Penzance - Manchester, all other trains between the Hereford line and Bristol being booked to reverse at Newport (including unadvertised ones doing so on the middle roads) but this ceased again from 24 May 1998 because of "abatement of competition" complications. These were resolved and Wales & West (the TOC in question) obtained authority to operate up to one round trip a day between Penzance and Manchester over the Maindee curve from 30 May 1999. However, they appear not regularly to have exercised those rights until the first timetabled use from 26 September 1999, when the following trains were scheduled to use the curve:
This article also appeared in Railway and Canal Historical Society Railway Chronology Group Co-ordinating Newsletter no. 46, April 2006.
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