MAY 2018 - PAGE TWO

 CREWE 21st MAY 2018

 I decided to travel from Sandbach to Crewe and back in order to sample the class 319's, replacing the class 323's on the Manchester-Crewe services. This was day 2, day 1 being bustituted. The revised service now includes Liverpool-Manchester Airport-Crewe, running alternately with Manchester-Crewe trains.
I liked the 323's, they were quick and fairly comfortable and I wasn't too pleased that they were being replaced by southern cast-offs, not that Northern will care. There was a long queue at the ticket office because one lady had lots of questions so I tried to use the ticket machine. I selected the ticket and it went through its routine until it came for payment when it stalled. Then it said "transaction interrupted cancelling..." then "this machine is out of service". Last year, Northern introduced car park payment machines at Sandbach which frequently fail and are extremely slow in operation (see below) and this can mean walking up and down the car parks to find a working machine. On at least two occasions none of them worked so what happens, do I get "fined" for having no ticket or do I simply not travel? The machines will not accept cash so if you don't have a credit card or mobile phone (some people don't!) then you can't travel if you arrive by car. Parking costs £3 per day whereas a day return to Crewe costs me £2! A complaint to Northern took months for a response and it was basically - tough!
Ref the lack of ticket, again, do I risk a penalty or not bother travelling, either way it has now come down to photographing the screens as a possible defence? The 319's? Well if my journey on 319 378 was anything to go by they are simply awful, the noise was incredible, the seats were absolutely filthy and the interior smelled, they appear as clapped-out hand-me-downs from the South where mostly new stock is being provided. Returning on 319 448 was a little bit better but in the coach I was in all the seat edges were frayed and it too smelled.

 319 360 forming the 10.23 Crewe-Liverpool Lime Street service.

 66 710 "Phil Packer" waited in platform 3 for a Manchester-bound Pendolino before heading North.

 319 378 running from Liverpool Lime Street to Crewe via Manchester Airport.

 CrossCountry Voyager 221 134 passed through platform one heading South.

 37 667 was visible on the Diesel Depot.

 68 028 drew into platform 12 arriving from, I think, Wavertree Jn.?

 68 023 was on the other end.

 The train left after a few minutes.

 319 448 forming the 11.48 from Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly.