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Northern Weekly Salvo 275

The Northern Weekly Salvo

Incorporating  Slaithwaite Review of Books, Weekly Notices, Sectional Appendices, Tunnel Gazers’ Gazette and Northern Umbrella. Descendant of Teddy Ashton’s Northern Weekly and Th’Bowtun Loominary.

Published from 109 Harpers Lane Bolton BL1 6HU email:

For more information about the books mentioned please visit

No. 275 February 9th 2020

Salveson’s half-nakedly political digest of railwayness, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North. Sometimes weekly, usually not; but definitely Northern. Read by the highest (and lowest) officers of state, Whitmanites, weirdos, misfits, steam punks, yes women, no men, gay Swedenborgians, cat-spotters, discerning sybarites, bi-guys, non-aligned social democrats,  pie-eaters, tripe dressers, nail artists, self-managing VIMTO drinkers, truculent Northerners, grumpy Norwegians, absurd Marxists, members of the clergy and the toiling masses. All views expressed are my own and usually nobody else’s. Official journal of the Station Cat Improvement Network, Pacer Dining Club and Station Buffet Society and The Campaign for a North with a capital ‘N’.

“We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” – Jo Cox, maiden speech in House of Commons, June 3rd 2015

General gossips

So that’s it then, we’re out. Europe that is. Let’s try and be positive, at least we know where we are now, with all the potential for irony and sarcasm that phase implies. But actually, I mean it. The most harmful thing of the last three and more years has been uncertainty and lack of stability. Nobody really knows what the impact of Brexit is going to be. My head says that, economically, it will be very damaging – particularly for Leave-voting areas of the North of England. I remember back in 2016, before the Referendum, Larry Elliott (I think) in The Guardian said much the same and concluded, with some degree of wisdom, that the effect of leaving will probably not be quite as bad as we think. As a committed European, I hope he’s right and that we maintain, and develop, a plethora of informal and formal relationships with ‘civic’ Europe. It’s an old railway adage, honed to perfection in the last 30 years or so, of ‘making the best out of a bad job’. Readers will disagree as to whether Brexit is a ‘bad job’ or a great opportunity. What matters now is that the racists and xenophobes amongst Leavers are marginalised and that the Britain that develops in the next few years – and particularly England – doesn’t wallow in self-pity and negativity, nor does it cling to any hope (in the next few years) that we’ll be back ‘in’.

My main focus these last few weeks has been on finishing my novel ‘The Works’ and getting it designed (thanks Rob) and sent off to the printers. It should be back in the next couple of weeks and there will be signings and a launch in March (see below). There’s a pre-publication offer of £10 (plus p and p) if you order before March 21st. I’m developing a new website for publications, still under development but a bit to see at: The next job will be a celebration of Allen Clarke’s classic, Moorlands and Memories published a century ago.

Politics, debate, controversy

The Labour leadership has been slightly eclipsed by Brexit. The previous Salvo, which one reader said amounted to a ‘full throated endorsement of Lisa Nandy’, stirred up a bit of controversy, not least over her apparent lack of awareness of ‘green’ issues and her comments on Catalonia, during her interview with Andrew Neil. As someone who hasn’t got a vote in the contest, and can look at the claims of Starmer, Nandy and Long-Bailey with at least some degree of objectivity, I would still endorse Lisa Nandy. Some aspects of her environmental policy may need refinement, but whose wouldn’t? As for Catalonia, I watched the interview on TV and she didn’t support the brutal suppression of the Catalan nationalists; it was about challenging them politically, through the Socialist Party. That said, she doesn’t (like most English Labourites) grasp the difference between the civic nationalism of the Catalans, Scots, Welsh and Irish with the ugly right-wing nationalism that has grown here in England as well as Germany and the USA. Spot the difference? There’s a huge difference between the nationalism of small, formerly subjugated nations like Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Catalonia with that of the ‘subjugating’ imperial states including England, Germany and the USA. So one of the few things I was happy with in the election was the SNP’s successes, much of it at Labour’s expense. Whoever becomes the next leader of the Labour needs to understand what is happening in Scotland and Wales, as well as the English regions. Starmer’s talk of an ‘English Parliament’ is the last thing that the North of England needs, but who is championing the cause of democratic devolution for the Northern regions? Nobody has yet to put their heads above this particular parapet. Nandy is best placed to champion the interests of the North but perhaps seems shy of appearing ‘The Northern Tribune’ lest she loses support in other parts of Britain.

Reversing Beeching

There has been much sceptical comment about Grant Shapps’ announcement of a £500m pot to ‘put Beeching in Reverse’ (a phrase first coined by yours truly in a  report for the former Countryside Agency many years ago). Being always relentlessly positive, let me say that it’s a start. It won’t buy any new railway but it will be a big help in getting moe detailed studies done which, like it or not, are an essential part of the process. Good luck to Ashington, Blyth and Tyne and Fleetwood. But let’s hope that it helps the case for Skipton – Colne, Burscough Curves, Clitheroe – Hellifield and others.

Saturday night in Ashton-Under-Lyne

The trip started off badly, with our intended direct train to Ashton (which we planned to pick up at Westhoughton) being cancelled. So a drive into Bolton and no less than three trains to arrive in Ashton in just under an hour from Bolton, all of 17 miles or so.

But hey ho, after we’d escaped from what must be the dreariest station in the North-West (it desperately needs a ‘friends’ group), we set forth onto the streets of Ashton-under-Lyne. I was delighted to bump into Hannah Mitchell, on a poster board describing her as a ‘socialist and suffragette’ in words that seemed eerily familiar. Possibly from the Hannah Mitchell Foundation website, which I’d written, but I’m not complaining.

Two ardent feminists in Ashton

Nice to see this outstanding figure recognised and celebrated in what was her home town for several years (she also spent some time in Bolton where she became a socialist and suffragette).

The main purpose of our excursion was to hear Sentimentalists perform in the wonderful Station Hotel on Warrington Street. The ‘station’ was Ashton Park Parade, long gone. The pub is coal-fired with some excellent black and white photos of BR steam. The selection is a bit random but very good all the same. Sentimentalists were excellent as always, a much under-rated band from over the hills in Todmorden. Readers will be pleased to know that our return train journey was faultless.

Socialist aesthetics in a brewer’s mansion: The Arts & Crafts of Politics

I suspect that wealthy Manchester brewer Sir Edward Holt may be turning in his vat at the thought of what’s going on in his magnificent turn-of-the-century arts and crafts mansion at Blackwell, overlooking Lake Windermere. This exhibition traces an evolving line of political thought through the writings, designs and illustrations of key Arts and Crafts luminaries including John Ruskin, William Morris and Walter Crane. The Arts & Crafts of Politics explores the role of socialist politics in the Arts and Crafts movement in the late-nineteenth century. There are works on loan from The Whitworth, William Morris Gallery, The Ruskin and People’s History Museum, along with three new commissions by artists Sam Pickett, Julia Parks and Samra Mayanja, created in collaboration with communities across Cumbria. Also on display is CLIMArt: The Art of the Student Climate Strike containing work created by young people in Cumbrian schools.

For William Morris, socialism was not a mere distraction from his main business of the design and production of decorative art and craft: it was at the very heart of all his activities.  In the case of Ruskin, it was the force of his political, economic and cultural writings – particularly the second volume of his celebrated The Stones of Venice (1853) – that had such a powerful influence on William Morris. Morris’ ‘conversion’ to socialism took place in the early 1880s. He became involved with the Socialist League and the Democratic Federation but his influence stretched beyond them and inspired the early Independent Labour Party.  Many of Morris’ pamphlets, along with other socialist organisations’ publications, were illustrated by Walter Crane whose later career was dedicated to the promotion of socialist ideals through his brilliant designs. The exhibition runs until April 24th. We can also recommend the fruit scones in the cafe.

HS2: Announcement imminent; misplaced goodies for Bradford?

There has been much speculation and debate about the Government’s announcement on HS2. Dubious ‘leaks’ have suggested that Johnson will announce the scheme going ahead in its entirety. I’m not so sure. Today’s report in The Observer suggests that London – Birmingham will get the green, but a decision on the extensions to Leeds and Manchester will be deferred for further analysis. Good. If the analysis is worth its salt it won’t go ahead, with investment put in the conventional network. It should also be an opportunity to rethink ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’. As things stand it’s little more than a line on a map, though much of the line will be underground so that the poor people of Bradford will get a high speed rail service. It’s absolutely crazy to contemplate an engineering project that would be on a par with the Channel Tunnel, when there’s an obvious alternative via Woodhead that would serve both Leeds (swinging northwards at Dunford Bridge) and Sheffield and the east Midlands. Bradford has not been well-served by rail but the sensible solution would be ‘Bradford CrossRail’ which would link the two historic but separate networks at Forster Square and Interchange, obviating the need for reversals, particularly at Interchange, which eat up capacity as well as time. So Calder Valley trains from Manchester via Halifax would run through Bradford, out to Shipley and into Leeds. Some Leeds – Skipton and Morecambe services could run via New Pudsey, Bradford, Shipley and on to Skipton.

The Northern franchise

There was a sense of inevitability about Grant Shapps announcement that the Northern franchise will be terminated and the Government’s ‘Operator Last resort’ (OLR) will take over, from March 1st. Much has been said about the rights and wrongs of what Northern could or should have done to resolve the huge problems that the business has faced. There’s little doubt that many of the problems were down to external causes, not least the acute delays to major infrastructure projects, as well as being saddled with proposals for driver-controlled operation of many of its services, which made a clash with RMT inevitable.

Despite the franchise changes, projects are going ahead: the new waiting room at Platforms 4/5 Bolton are a big improvement. Just needs some nice pcitures!

It would need time and the great benefits of hindsight to come to a rounded view of the whole story. For now, enough to know that ‘Northern Trains Ltd’ will take over on March 1st and OLR is tasked with producing a 100-day plan to address some of the issues. High on the list will be resolving some of the operational problems on the Castlefield Corridor. Basically, fewer trains.  What Northern needs isn’t more trains, but lengthening of existing services, with associated platform lengthening where necessary. It is assumed by the media and political commentators that ‘Northern Trains’ will stay in the public sector indefinitely. This is unlikely to be the case, but the big question is ‘what happens next?’ The Williams Review is key to this and we are likely to see a White Paper issued shortly. Hopefully it will offer an opportunity to look at more creative options, including mutual and co-operative models. Some re-modelling of the franchise map is also necessary. So an interesting few weeks ahead.

The Enterprising Railway

If you’re interested in exploring how a modern, entrepreneurial railway for the North might work, come along to the Rail Reform Group’s first open meeting, on Thursday March 19th. It’s at the Waldorf pub near Piccadilly station. Speakers will include Chris Kimberley, Nicola Forsdyke and Laurence Hilland. Each will explore different aspects of how railways can become more entrepreneurial and customer-focused. Admission is free and doors open at 18.00.

My new pet

I’ve always been a committed cyclist, at least until recently. Those hills! So I’ve got out of the habit. The obvious solution was ‘get an electric bike’. After months of shilly-shallying I have, and I’m very pleased with it. It’s a Raleigh ‘Motus Tour’ purchased from The Green Machine in Horwich, so impeccable credentials. The shop even displays a picture of an L&Y Radial Tank. Having already ‘test ridden’ the bike I was ready for the 4 mile ride, up and over Chorley Old Road, back to home depot. I wasn’t disappointed and ‘Motus’ waltzed up the climb with minimum effort. Watch this space for further reports. Can’t wait to attack the climb up Smithills Dean Road, which normally instilled fear in my heart.

Bolton Community Update

The AGM of Bolton Station Community Partnership took place last week, with nearly 30 people attending. The guest speaker was Darren Knight, chief executive of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services (BCVS), speaking on ‘The State of Bolton’s Voluntary and Community Sector’. BCVS supports the work of around 1600 community organisations across the borough, doing vital work with their local communities. An amazing 113,500 hours of voluntary work takes place in Bolton each week. Julie Levy was re-elected as chair of the station partnership.

Julie at the first day of the exhibition

She said it had been a ‘phenomenal year’ with a range of successful events at the station, growing use of the Community Room on Platform 5, and on-going work to bring the upstairs space on platforms 4 and 5 back into use as a community arts and heritage hub. “The Platform Gallery opened in July and we’ve already had several exhibitions, including the unique exhibition of ‘Railway Workers’ Art’ which we hope to repeat,” she said. “The Food and Drink Fringe Festival in August was another Bolton ‘first’,” Julie added. Funding for the gallery has come from Northern, TransPennine Express, Transport for Greater Manchester and Network Rail. The programme of guided walks with Bolton City of Sanctuary has continued with more easy walks planned in 2020. In addition, the community rail partnership for Bolton and South Lancashire – of which the station group is a founding member – has plans for a series of trails radiating out from Bolton station linking with local stations to Wigan, Preston, Manchester and Blackburn.

Earlier the same day, Bolton and South Lancs CRP met, with plenty to discuss. Funding for the CRP’s paid officer is now all in place, with commitments from Northern, CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast and Bolton at Home. We will be advertising the full-time job on or just after March 1sty using our new website The website will be up and running very soon but expressions of interest can be emailed to TransPennine Express has also been a very generous funder for the Gallery and Community Room.

Negotiations between the University of Bolton, Northern and Network Rail for a tripartite lease on the ‘community’ space is moving ahead positively and work on the roof is steaming ahead. We are hoping for a positive result on our application for a lift to make the upstairs area fully accessible. During May the Community Room will host some of the ‘Worktown 2020’, events organised by the University Arts Faculty.

Walking around Chequerbent

The former mining area stretching south from the A6 at Chequerbent is rich in history, including one of the most tragic episodes in British coalmining. On December 20th 1910 the Pretoria Pit blew up, taking the lives of 344 men and boys. The disaster is commemorated at the site of the explosion as well as a large memorial in Westhoughton church yard.

The A6 at Chequerbent, showing where the original Bolton and Leigh Railway crossed the road. The level crossing house is on the left (with more recent extension) and some later LNWR workers’ houses nearer the camera

The area is also of great railway interest. The very early Bolton and Leigh Railway (1828) climbed out of the south Lancashire plain from Atherton to Chequerbent on a ferocious gradient, made worse by mining subsidence. In part, the line climbed at 1 in 18. The gradients were eased slightly by construction of a new line that avoided crossing the A6 on the level (the crossing cottage is still there) and instead burrowing underneath the road with a new station at Chequerbent. Much of the route is walkable, though extremely muddy. Parts of the route have been ‘landscaped’ by removal of the old slag heaps which offered a good vantage point for photographers in steam days. It’s possible to do a circuit, heading down to a point north of the present Hag Fold station on the Atherton Line, but turning left along the track of an old colliery line that served Pretoria. Another left turn takes you back up to Chequerbent through very pleasant countryside which formed part of the Hulton Estate. Hulton was, of course, the magistrate who gave orders for the murderous attack on a peaceful demonstration in Manchester’s St Peter’s Fields on August 16th 1819. The area is still mired in controversy over proposals to create a golf course, hotel and other ‘leisure facilities’ in the extensive grounds.

What I’m reading

A big ‘thank you’ to the Swiss Railway Society for sending a copy of their new publication by Brian Stone. ‘The Birsigthalbahn’ is more than a conventional history and operational review of a small Swiss rural railway. It charts the history from its unlikely start as a hybrid tramway/railway serving a quiet rural area southwest of Basel to its modern incarnation as a part of the essential transport network that serves Switzerland’s second city. It’s more than a simple review of the line – it is also a social history of the area the line served, and the way the railway transformed it into its modern form as an integral part of the Greater Basel area. A good read and a welcome change from the usual genre of ‘Branch Line Book’. Price £10 from SRA:

Alex Niven’s New Model Island is a fascinating little book on England and potential for ‘regionalism’ . Sub-titled ‘how to build a radical culture beyond the idea of England’ is published by Repeater and costs £9.99. It’s a fascinating mix of autobiography and political analysis and almost risks missing the point slightly. It’s an enjoyable read and (I would say this) best read alongside Socialism with a Northern Accent, which needs updating. His article in New Statesman (February 7th) is a good summary of his core argument, though his suggestion of a ‘campaign for regional government’ has to come from the regions themselves.

My friend and travelling companion Martin Bairstow is the author of a new book on railways around Lancaster. Midland Railway Outpost: Lancaster – Morecambe – Heysham is published by Willowherb and costs £21.95. It focuses on the fascinating network of railways which fed the railway port of Heysham (now served by a near-residual daily Northern service from Leeds). The Midland was nothing if not entrepreneurial (see above). The built and developed the port and, from 1908 ran an electric suburban service between Heysham, Morecambe and Lancaster. At first sight it looks more of a ‘picture book’ but this is deceptive, there’s plenty of informative text written in Mr Bairstow’s inimitable Yorkshire style.

I’m continuing to dip into John Nelson’s readable and thought-provoking Losing Track: an insider’s story of Britain’s Railway Transformation from British Rail to the Present Day. It’s part memoir and part analysis/comment of what has happened on Britain’s railways since privatisation. Whatever the future holds for our railways, the input of John Nelson will be essential.

As Ireland goes to the polls, Diarmaid Ferriter’s The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics is essential reading. Although votes are still being counted and aggregated, it’s cl;ear that there has been a major shift in public opinion in the Republic, perhaps matching more subtle ‘under the wire’ changes in the North. Let’s see. I’ve always hoped I’d see a re-united Ireland before I pop my clogs. Who knows? Published by Profile Books, £8.99

Finally, and most unusually for this emphatically non-sporty publication, can I recommend Bolton Deane and Derby Cricket Club’s 50th anniversary ‘celebratory book’. It is sponsored by the University of Bolton and caries copious advertisements from local shops in the Deane and Derby area. This sporting history is a fascinating aspect of the Asian communities of Bolton. Copies are available at the Community Room, Bolton Station, alongside Bolton Asian Migration volume 2. Well done Ibrahim and friends for this fascinating publication.

‘The Works’ goes to press         

My first (hopefully not the last) novel is set around the Lancashire town of Horwich, in the former railway engineering factory where I worked for a short time. Much of the action takes place in the 1970s and 80s but the story is taken through to 2025. It’s about life in a factory facing up to closure – the tensions and fears of being made redundant, as well as everyday life in a working class community.

The narrator is a trade union activist – with a secret. It’s partly a love story about his relationship with an office worker, Midge, who becomes involved in local politics and nearly becomes an MP. In ‘real life’ the Works closed in 1983 and is now being demolished. In the novel, the factory is saved by a workers’ occupation and buy-out, with some dramatic scenes where riot police try to break the occupation. The novel links the fictitious outcome at Horwich with the actual occupation and buy-out at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, Glasgow. The novel is illustrated with photographs of the Works in the early 1980s which I took as part of a commission from Lancashire Association of Trades Councils, during the campaign to save the Works.

The story has a lot to say about local life and politics in the 1970s and 80s and Midge’s role as a community activist and councillor. Part of the story is about Horwich starting to build steam locomotives once again – for the heritage railway market – as well as making modern rolling stock. Lovers of L&Y ‘Highflyers’ please note.

There’s lots of surprises so I won’t spoil it for you. It contains strong language – and some Lancashire dialect! There will be a number of book launches around Horwich and Bolton in late March. If you want to secure an advance, signed, copy at the special price of £10, fill in the form below. If your community group would like a talk on the novel please contact me at the address below or email All orders must be paid in advance and received before March 21st.





Post code……………………………………………Phone……………………………………………….

Email………………………………………………….(for notice of book signings and updates)

Please send….copy/ies of The Works to the above address. At the special price of £10 plus £2.50 post and packing. The novel will be available from March 26th in bookshops and other outlets price £12.99. If you live within 5 miles of Horwich I can deliver without the extra £2.50 charge.

I enclose a cheque for £…….. made to ‘Paul Salveson’. Please add £2.50 for postage (regardless of number of copies ordered) unless you’re local! The book will be posted to you before March 26th. Would you like it signing/dedicating? If to someone else, give details:

Post to: Paul Salveson, 109 Harpers Lane, Bolton BL1 6HU or email this form to and use bank transfer to A/C of Paul Salveson, National Westminster Bank  Code 53-61-07 account 23448954 with your surname for reference


Crank Quiz: Horwich Loco Works

Last month’s quiz featured the preserved ‘Taff Vale’ tank loco, on the Worth Valley Railway. Quite a few readers offered the correct answer, alluding to the ‘Taff Vale Judgement’ of 1901 which threatened the right to strike by asserting that employers could sue unions for losses incurred by strike action. The judgement was eventually overturned in Parliament, but hastened the formation of the modern Labour Party, with trade union backing. This time, given lots of interest in Horwich Loco Works, the crank quiz is a) name all the distinguished railway engineers and managers who passed through the factory and b) list all of the named locomotives that operated on Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway metals which were built at Horwich.

it’s a picture quiz, and very topical. Thanks to Paul Abell for suggesting it. What has this locomotive got to do with the history of the Labour Party?



Special Traffic Notices: Coming Events

Saturday March 14th: Lancashire Authors Association AGM, St Mary’s Church, Chorley

Friday March 20th from 18.00: Launch of The Works Wayoh Brewery,  nr. Blackrod Station

Saturday March 21st:  Cumbrian Railways Assocation, Penrith.

Friday March 27th  Talk on Horwich Works and the novel, Bolton Socialist Club, 16 Wood Street, Bolton 20.00

Tuesday April 14th  Horwich Heritage: Talk on ‘Railways and Literature in Lancashire’


The Salvo Publications List

The Settle-Carlisle Railway (2019) published by Crowood and available in reputable, and possibly some disreputable, bookshops price £24. It’s a general history of the railway, bringing it up to date. It includes a chapter on the author’s time as a goods guard on the line, when he was based at Blackburn in the 1970s. The book includes a guide to the line, from Leeds to Carlisle. Some previously-unused sources helped to give the book a stronger ‘social’ dimension, including the columns of the LMS staff magazine in the 1920s. ISBN 978-1-78500-637-1

The following are all available from The Salvo Publishing HQ, here at 109 Harpers Lane, Bolton BL1 6HU. Cheques should be made out to ‘Paul Salveson’ though you can send cash if you like but don’t expect any change. Bottles of whisky, old bound volumes of Railway Magazine, number-plates etc. by negotiation.

‘Lancashire’s Romantic Radical – the life and writings of Allen Clarke/Teddy Ashton‘ (2009). The story of Lancashire’s errant genius – cyclist, philosopher, unsuccessful politician, amazingly popular dialect writer. Normal Price £15  – can now offer it for £10 with free postage. There are a few hardback versions left – Normal price £25  – now at £15 with free postage. This book outlines the life and writings of one of Lancashire’s most prolific – and interesting – writers. Allen Clarke (1863-1935) was the son of mill workers and began work in the mill himself at the age of 11. He became a much-loved writer and an early pioneer of the socialist movement. He wrote in Lancashire dialect as ‘Teddy Ashton;’ and his sketches sold by the thousand. He was a keen cyclist and rambler; his books on the Lancashire countryside – ‘Windmill Land’ and ‘Moorlands and Memories’ are wonderful mixtures of history, landscape and philosophy.

‘With Walt Whitman in Bolton – Lancashire’s Links to Walt Whitman‘. This charts the remarkable story of Bolton’s long-lasting links to America’s great poet. Price £10.00 including post and packing. New bi-centennial edition published in May 2019. Bolton’s links with the great American poet Walt Whitman make up one of the most fascinating footnotes in literary history. From the 1880s a small group of Boltonians began a correspondence with Whitman and two (John Johnston and J W Wallace) visited the poet in America. Each year on Whitman’s birthday (May 31) the Bolton group threw a party to celebrate his memory, with poems, lectures and passing round a loving cup of spiced claret. Each wore a sprig of lilac in Whitman’s memory. The group were close to the founders of the ILP – Keir Hardie, Bruce and Katharine Bruce Glasier and Robert Blatchford. The links with Whitman lovers in the USA continue to this day.

‘Northern Rail Heritage’. A short introduction to the social history of the North’s railways. Price £6.00. The North ushered in the railway age  with the Stockton and Darlington in 1825 followed by the Liverpool and Manchester in 1830. But too often the story of the people who worked on the railways has been ignored. This booklet outlines the social history of railways in the North. It includes the growth of railways in the 19th century, railways in the two world wars, the general strike and the impact of Beeching.

Will Yo’ Come O’ Sunday Mornin? The Winter Hill Mass Trespass of 1896′. The story of Lancashire’s Winter Hill Trespass of 1896. 10,000 people marched over Winter Hill to reclaim a right of way. Price: £5.00 (not many left). The Kinder Scout Mass Trespass of 1932 was by no means the first attempt by working class people to reclaim the countryside. Probably the biggest-ever rights of way struggle took place on the moors above Bolton in 1896, with three successive weekends of huge demonstrations to reclaim a blocked path. Over 12,000 took part in the biggest march. The demonstrations were led by a coalition of socialists and radical liberals and Allen Clarke (see above!) wrote a great song about the events – ‘Will Yo’ Come O’ Sunday Mornin’?’ Only a couple left.



17 replies on “Northern Weekly Salvo 275”

Thank goodness someone else, your good selfie, thinks the almost ready made Woodhead route would be an viable alternative for both Leeds and Sheffield rather than the suggested disruptive alternative.

Thanks Phil
“You may see I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” – but more relaistic than a 25 mile long tunnel!

People don’t say thank you enough, I reckon, but I’d like to; so many thanks for another interesting Salvo Paul, your enthusiasm for well-chosen comment always shines through. I’m also curious to know how far you can go on a single charge with your new two-wheeled friend, both on the flat, or up and down the dales and fells, and so on? Sounds like you’d recommend it? Might make a purchase-that’s all. Regards, Bob

Hello Bob, tahnk you! It does depend on the level of power you use. I reckon I would be very safe doing a 40 mile round trip with some steep hills. It says it can do up to 80 miles but wouldn’t want to test it. Yes, I would recommend it. There’s plenty on the market. Raleigh is a good respected brand. My biggest problem is the weight, getting it up and down my steps.

Nay, lad, a proper railway like t’Lanky didn’t name engines – that were best left to they poncy southerners down at Crewe….
Except of course for the 18” gauge locos at Horwich Works. The first three came from Beyer Peacock, but the other five were home-grown. I think these were named Fly, Wasp, Midget, Mouse and Bee.
On a more serious (!) note, the “reversing Beeching” £500m may only get 1-2 schemes worth of completely reinstated railway, but it can go a lot farther in putting back passenger services on freight-only or mothballed lines. Portishead and East-West are already funded out of separate pots, and Ashington and Fleetwood seem to be favoured candidates for some of the new money. Other obvious candidates might include Leicester-Burton (Coalville is one of the largest towns on England without passenger trains), Totton-Fawley, March-Wisbech, Stoke-Leek and Walsall-Lichfield. The key things will be for the rail industry to keep costs down, as against the current trend for gold-plating, and for Whitehall to demonstrate early progress, so that cash-strapped local authorities are actively encouraged to bid for projects. Fingers crossed….
Meanwhile, never mind reversing Beeching, HS2 or Northern Powerhouse Rail, the real priority is surely full mainline electrification, starting with the Midland north of Kettering!

Well done, it was a trick question! Yes, of course agree on electrification, and re-openings

Your trip to Ashton-under-Lyne could have been much easier if the Manchester Metrolink trams ran through to Bolton. The lack of heavy rail peak time capacity from Manchester to Bolton cries out for an intense tram service. It might be relatively straightforward to construct a branch from Radcliffe or to operate tram-trains alongside the ‘main’ line. I once asked a representative from TfGM at a conference why there were no Metrolink trams anywhere in Bolton. He replied that originally ‘we didn’t think it would be needed’ and so that was that. With all the Northern Powerhouse and other funds/bribes sloshing about from Westminster it would surely be a cheap ‘no-brainer’ to extend Metrolink to Bolton?

It seems to be on the agenda Adrian, preliminary discussions about route/s. Radcliffe is the obvious one, also via Walkden.
Thanks for your book order, it’s going out today!

Hi Paul !

Snowing heavily today in Highland Perthshire.
Really enjoyed your latest Salvo.
I do hope you are right about HS2 I am so appalled at the cost with thousands of food banks in UK. I had a very interesting discussion with an Irish Senator last year about the unification of Ireland. He was positive it would happen in the next 10 years. I think Boris and the DUP have certainly helped the cause. The SNP are now looking into testing the legality of Boris’ “no” to our next Independence Referendum in the Courts. So an independent Scotland and Ireland !!!
My goodness I was shocked at the northern vote for Boris – the next 5 years will be very telling for those communities.
Anyway onwards and upwards !
Aye Kate

Thanks Kate
I do like a bit of snow!Politics is certainly in flux. The Boris vote was based on lots of things, partly Brexit, a hopeless leader, etc. You are in a much better position in Scotland!

Crank Quiz. The only ‘namers’ I can think of are the 5 0-4-0 works shunters the L&Y built Wasp, Fly, Mouse, Midget & Bee. Aspinall couldn’t abide names on locos, though his was on a Claughton!, so no other Horwich products got them. (There might by a named Class 08 shunter built at Horwich still out there though.)
Significant engineers who worked at Horwich Aspinall, Hughes, Fowler, Gresley obviously; Ramsbottom at a pinch for helping set it up. Then there’s O’Brien (electrics), Shawcross (could’ve been a CME), Gass (the power classification system), Coleman (Stanier’s boiler designer); Eric Mason & Stuart Cox (authors who were trained there) but I’ll leave out Hoy as his approach to locos might not be classed as significant.

Very good Noel – but weren’t some (if not all) the n/g locos built at Beyer Peacock? (read the question young Coates!)
By the way, my novel set in Horwich is now out. Would you like to do a review for the L&Y magazine. It features a slightly fictionalsied ‘L&Y Locomotive Society’ which funds the building of a new Highflyer!

Many thanks, Paul, for the tip about ‘The Arts & Crafts of Politics’, A snowy expedition last Monday, (with 100% Delay Repay refund due from TPE owing to their cancellstions) Very relevant to the next discussion T
at Tail (Talking Allowed In Leeds)
, one of the Philosophy In Pubs groups I attend