Northern Weekly Salvo 295

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 at 109 Harpers Lane Bolton BL1 6HU email:

Publications website:

No. 295 August 6th  2021                       

Salveson’s half-nakedly political digest of railwayness, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North. Sometimes weekly, usually not; 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, mis-aligned pie-eaters, tripe dressers, nail artists, self-managing VIMTO drinkers, truculent Northerners, grumpy Norwegians, absurd Marxists, sleepy Hungarians, members of the clergy and the toiling masses, generally. All views expressed are my own and usually nobody else’s. Official journal of the Station Cat Improvement Network, Pacer Dining Club, Station Buffet Acceleration Council 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

Like a lot of Salvo readers I’ve mixed feelings about relaxing Covid restrictions, particularly when quite a few people I know seem to have caught it recently..not much you can say that hasn’t been said a thousand times other than I’ll carry on wearing the hated mask when it seems right to do so but not when common sense dictates otherwise (e.g. in an empty railway carriage).

What of the wider political world? In this issue I float a few thoughts on ‘England’ and ‘Englishness’, readers’ views welcome, as always. It worries me that Starmer’s Labour Party could lurch into championing a kind of ‘Englishness’ that leaves little room for regional variations, let alone distinctiveness, and panders to a sort of nostalgic and reactionary ‘Englishness’ which is miles away from what is exemplified by the England football team.

It continues to puzzle and surprise me that so many politicians, of all hues, continue to think that HS2 is somehow ‘a good thing’ and will help the North. I

Most people in the North would prefer to see investment in regional networks, not HS2. A Northern 158 creeps across Accrington Viaduct (10 mph speed restriction)

very much doubt that it will and share the view of most people ‘up ‘ere’ that the money could be far better spent on improving local and regional transport. So I’m pleased that it looks like Leeds will not get its HS2 link and I very much hope Manchester will be similarly blessed. Why so anti-HS2? Well first let me say I’m not against high-speed rail as such but this scheme is so flawed in so many ways that I find it impossible to justify. Changing travel habits ‘post’ Covid make it even less justified. All those day trips to London for business meetings are less likely to happen and the leisure market is perfectly happy being served by trains that run at 125 mph. I wish politicians would listen to what their constituents are saying and scrap this expensive white elephant which will only benefit London. I suspect it will not get beyond Crewe as financial reality kicks in, but why wait for that to happen when it’s obvious that it makes no sense environmentally, economically or – where it counts – politically.

It’s good to see heritage railways returning to something like normal. I met up with some old school friends in Bury the other week and had a pleasant drink in ‘The Trackside’ bar at Bolton Street station and watched a well-filled 1300 to Rawtenstall depart. Bolton now has a direct bus link to the East Lancs – ‘The Rammy Rambler’, a joint initative of Diamond Buses North-West and the ELR. Runs Wednesday to Sunday, three times a day, using an open top double-decker (presumably when fine!).

England, which England?

The quest for a ‘progressive English politics’ is something that seems to have captured the imagination of quite a few writers on the English left, mostly columnists for The Guardian and Observer. There’s another school of thought, which I must confess to having leaned towards myself on some occasions, which is quite anti-English.

It’s a view shared by some in the Northern Independence Party which hopes to wish away the reactionary English state and have a Northern socialist republic. It’s a lovely dream, perhaps, but political utopias usually turn into something very different from what their first disciples hoped for. And I don’t think many people really want it. You can be passionately ‘Yorkshire’ and still identify as English, as well as ‘Huddersfield’ etc.

It’s always a good idea to start with a concrete analysis of a concrete situation (special prize for who said that). Scotland is key to this, with the likelihood that it will break away from the UK within the next ten years, possibly sooner. Northern Ireland could become an even bigger hot potato within the same time frame, the North re-uniting with the South and rejoining the EU. That leaves a UK comprising England and Wales, with Wales very much the junior partner. Could it go its own way? People say that it’s too small but that doesn’t necessarily bear scrutiny. Far smaller nations have gone independent and done very well – Iceland being just one.

So there is the possibility that we end up with a centralised English state by default. That could be very bad for the North and possibly the Midlands too, as more power – political and economic – concentrates in London and the south-east. Throwing a few sops to the North in the form of a bit more power for the largely unaccountable mayors won’t make that much difference.

What could make for a much more attractive vision of a ‘new England’

Cartoon quintessential Englishman

is a political entity that is decentralised with a much smaller central state – and it doesn’t matter that much whether or not it’s in London (I’d keep it there). Strong regions, based on historic boundaries rather than ‘technocratic’ ones, should be the foundation – county regions such as Yorkshire and Lancashire – with empowered local government again based on historic identities where possible and of appropriate size, that is really ‘local’.

That set-up could work whether or not Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland went their own ways. It would be a sad thing if they did and I suspect that after a while there might be the basis for a rapprochement based on equality between the nations and regions, rather than the current overwhelming dominance of England, and London in particular. A British confederation.

So a new England is possible, and we get glimpses of it through things like the Euros and our great ambassadors in the England football team. Nobody has to hate England, particularly anyone who is English. A silly position to adopt. There’s lots of things in our past that are positive, in politics, culture, sport and industry. We should cherish these but have the maturity to look at the negatives in an open and honest way too. And when people who should know better harp on about a ‘Quintessentially English’ country that implicitly excludes anywhere north of Watford, that’s urban or multi-ethnic, they should be challenged.

So I think it’s OK to love England, the real England as it is not how some romanticise it, but accept that it needs to change – and discard the reactionary trappings of an old imperial state. Personally, I’m relaxed about the monarchy continuing but again, let’s drop some of the outdated nonsense that goes with it. It all comes back to the people, the demos, democracy. Our voting system is an embarrassment, our leaders are a joke.  But change is possible. As the gay, upper-class Edward Carpenter (who made Yorkshire his home) once sang, ‘England Arise!’

Up on th’windy moors

The third Saturday of July is the traditional day of pilgrimage to ‘Waugh’s Well’ – the lonely and beautiful spot on the Lancashire moors that celebrates the great Lancashire poet Edwin Waugh. After the inevitable break last year, the tradition was re-established last month with a group of about 15 members of the Edwin Waugh Dialect Society making the hike from Edenfield up to Fo’ Edge, on a hot summer’s day.

At Waugh’s Well

Stops were made on the way up for readings from Waugh and his contemporaries and a picnic lunch was partaken at Fo’ Edge, on the site of the farmstead that Waugh lodged in for a few months. There’s a plaque on the site telling you more about the place and Waugh himself. Less we lurch into too much misty-eyed nostalgia, part of the reason for Waugh’s sojourn was his need to ‘dry out’ from his rather excessive drinking habits. You’re a long way from a pub up there, though I suspect the farmer would have made his own ‘whoam-brewed’ but rationed Edwin’s share. The return walk was particularly interesting, following some of the long-disused tramway routes that once served the huge slate quarries ‘on the tops’. Some of these railways were very well engineered with deep cuttings and high embankments. Considering most closed soon after the First World War, they are remarkably easy to follow. So all in all a gradely day out, the highlight for some being the spectacle of one of the participants deciding to rip up his short – possibly in ecstasy at the loveliness of Sid and Alyson’s poetising, or maybe because it was just too warm.

Platform culture thrives in Bolton

Bolton Station Community Partnership is hosting a unique art exhibition at its Platform 5 Gallery on Bolton Station. ‘Routed – an exhibition of railway workers’ art’ displays the work of active and retired railway employees and is the only show of its kind in the UK. It

Julie Levy and first visitor John Stirzaker

includes paintings and photographs by five artists and runs until Saturday August 28th, culminating in the first-ever Station Mela which will feature stalls and music. The exhibition is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 12.00 to 4.00pm and admission is free – barrier staff will let visitors through the gates on request.

“We’re really excited to host this latest exhibition, building on the success of the first-ever Railway Workers’ Art exhibition in 2019,” said July Levy, chair of the station partnership who is curating the exhibition. The show features the work of Nigel Valentine, Susan Skully, Richard Hall, Josh Watkins and Paul Salveson.

The subject matter is largely but not exclusively rail-related. Some of the photographs were taken in the Bolton area and include images of railwaymen at work. The paintings of railway manager Josh Watkins feature scenes from the Welsh narrow-gauge railways whilst Richard Hall’s paintings include a dream-like scene at the former ‘Mop’ pub in Halliwell. “It’s a great show and follows on from our last exhibition featuring Bolton artists including Julia Uttley and Dave Burnham,” said Julie. “People really like the cosy atmosphere of the gallery and everyone can be assured of a friendly welcome.” Further details Julie Levy 07789 725753

Day trip to Coniston

I’ve made previous mention of the excellent ‘community bus’ operation based in Ulverston and run by Blueworks Taxis. The services have continued to develop, assisted by the Friends of the X12 who actually run some of the services on a Section 22 licence (which permits voluntary groups to run scheduled minibus services). My friend Martin suggested we should have a day out by train and bus and take in the steam-yacht ‘Gondola’ too. We got to the rather forlorn-looking Ulverston station and headed into town for a look round the market hall, which is home to a couple of excellent bookshops. One sells mainly new stuff while the stall next door is second-hand. I came away with a very nice Maryport and Carlisle Railway booklet and a couple of Oakwood Press titles. And some excellent Lancashire cheese (Ulverston being historically part of Lancashire).

We reached the bus stop to find quite a few people already there – a

A confluence of minibuses at Coniston

local women’s association having a day out to Coniston. Would we all fit in? MD (and Farnworth lad) Phil Halliwell had the situation sussed and three minibuses were on hand to cope with the throng, with Phil covering s driver on one of the vehicles. I wonder if the same responsiveness would have been evident from one of the larger corporate bus operators?

We set off in convoy with the third bus empty – but people joined en route so by the team our ‘bus train’ arrived at Coniston all three vehicles were respectably full.

The Gondola departs from Coniston

‘The Gondola’ was a delight, what a remarkable ‘restoration’ job the National Trust has done. When we got going it sounded just like an LMS Black 5 working hard at about 50 mph.

We returned on the afternoon bus convoy, with the Ulverston ladies in good spirits. They didn’t actually break out into song but maybe a bit longer and they would have. We were dropped at the station, a kind gesture by the driver. We spent half an hour reflecting on what great potential the station has. The booking office and waiting room has already been improved and there is some excellent artwork. But so much more could be done. The exterior is shabby and neglected, the former water tower is now empty after the brave attempt to open a cafe and bike hire business a few years back.

Haigh Woodland Wanderer wends its way from Wigan

A new rail-linked bus service from Wigan to Haigh Woodland Park started last weekend – and initial results are encouraging. The service is a joint initiative of South East Lancs Community Rail Partnership, Wigan Council, Haigh Woodland Park (owned by the Council) and Friends of Haigh Woodland Park. The service is part-funded by the Community Rail Network’s ‘Integrated Sustainable Transport Fund’. The service, operated by local company Finch’s, runs every hour and picks up alongside Wallgate station. The first weekend loadings were

Councillors, staff and volunteers at Haigh Hall with Finch’s bus in background

predictably low on the Saturday but much busier on the Sunday. Wigan Council has been energetically publicising the service with door to door leaflet drops and a media campaign. As word gets round, loadings will continue to increase. Haigh Woodland Park is a great place for a day out. Its centrepiece is Haigh Hall, currently undergoing restoration, but there’s lots to see and do in the park, not least the miniature railway. There’s also a popular bar, cafes and crazy golf.

RHS not as green as it thinks it is

We had a very enjoyable visit to the new Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Worsley (Bridgewater). The story of the garden’s restoration, from the ruins of Worsley New Hall, is remarkable and all credit to the RHS for getting it up and running so quickly – about four years from start to opening, despite Covid. But what lets it down are the poor transport links. There’s an infrequent bus service which runs from the Trafford Centre to Leigh – nothing from central Manchester – and it drops you off over half a mile from the ‘welcome’ centre. People

The grounds of RHS Bridgewater are extensive and great scope for further development

arriving by public transport are given a discount on their admission, but really they should be awarded a medal. The RHS makes much of its green credentials but this really is very poor. It’s right in the heart of Burnhamshire, between the RHS, Transport for Greater Manchester, Salford City Council and the bus operators it ought to be possible to have a frequent dedicated bus service. It’s all the more galling that a large amount of money is being invested in a cycle link from Walkden station to the gardens, which could have easily funded a frequent bus link. Much as I’m keen to promote cycling, the reality is that this will mainly benefit fit, middle-class people who have a pretty direct route from Walkden to the gardens already. And that assumes you are able to get your bike on the train – with the ‘2 bikes’ rule there isn’t much scope for group visits. So, unless things change, the overwhelming majority of visitors, like us, will go by car. But don’t let me put you off, it’s a great place for all that.

Off to the sunny South Coast with RPTA

This weekend it’s the annual conference of REPTA – The Railway Employees’ Public Transport Association (formerly Railway Employees’ Privilege Ticket Association, much more prosaic) – in Bournemouth. I’m looking forward to a pleasant trip down with CrossCountry and a weekend of catching up with old friends. For obvious reasons last year’s conference was cancelled. REPTA was set up in 1893 and continues to provide a ‘circle of good fellowship’. Many of its still-active members are retired but there are some newer members who are keeping the flame alive. Back in BR days it had a huge membership, around 50,000 at its peak. Today it’s much less but it still has a role as a truly ‘social’ network. Membership costs a mere £5 and is worth every penny – see

Vintage Day out

It’s a while since I’ve travelled along ‘The Shakespeare Line’ from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon and the promise of a run behind ‘Clun Castle’ was too good to miss. But as sometimes happen, it didn’t quite turn out as intended. ‘Clun’ caught a cold and was confined to shed and an almost equally ancient class 20 diesel (with ‘47’ support) substituted. Did it matter? Not at all, it was a great day out, launching Vintage Trains’ programme of excursions this summer, many of which will be steam-hauled, hopefully some with a revived ‘Clun’.  Vintage

Our short stop at Henley-in-Arden to admire the station gardens and hear about plans for the buildings

Trains is a fully accredited train operated company and the only one in the UK (probably the world) that is run as a genuinely community operation. It’s a community benefit society, mostly using locomotives owned by a charitable trust. It is part of the Heart of England Community Rail partnership and supports ‘station friends’ along the Shakespeare Line. Chairman Michael Whitehouse says it’s the only line on the national network to have every single station adopted, and I wouldn’t contradict him. On the way out we had a stop at Henley-in-Arden where the station buildings are set to be refurbished for community uses. At Stratford we had about 40 minutes and enjoyed drinks in the nearby cafe before heading back to Birmingham, from where we hopped on a local train to Bournville to have a look round the fascinating Cadbury’s industrial village. A perfect day was rounded off by a curry in our favourite Indian, The Lagan. Dessert just had to be a ‘Cadbury’s Delight’.

My Fernarium and 10F

During the mini-heat wave I decided it would be a good time to really get stuck into the various garden projects that I’d been promising myself I’d ‘get round to’. Not, you’ll be surprised to know, garden railway related. Oh no, the rail infrastructure is pretty much established now and it’s more a case of adding a few extras, new locos and the like. The two major new projects were the ‘Rose Grove’ at the front and the ‘Fernarium’ at the back. I’ve never really been much of a ‘rose’ person but, coming up to my 69th, I am a convert, with all the zeal that goes with it. But open to readers’ suggestions for what to buy, what to look out for. The ‘Fernarium’ is a case of using some space that has struggled to find uses. It’s very shady but the soil is good. The railway runs by it, naturally, and it sometimes gets a bit overgrown. So I’ve cleared out the early summer wild flowers (red campion, foxgloves, mint) and the ferns have gone in. Ladies’ ferns – again, no expert and welcome suggestions for what else to plant. The ones that have gone in are transfers from other depots.

Bolton’s Great Strike

My most recent feature in The Bolton News’ ‘Looking Back’ supplement was on the ‘Great Engineers’ Strike’ of 1887. This was no ordinary industrial dispute: cavalry were drafted in from their barracks in Manchester and hundreds of police from around the North-West were billeted in the town. Hundreds of strike-breakers – ‘knobsticks’ – were

Ald. Benjamin Dobson, main protagonist from the employers’ side. In possible mitigation he was fond of miniature railways

brought in by train and riots ensued at the station. The event formed the basis for Allen Clarke’s novel The Knobstick, published in 1891. It led to major changes in the town’s politics, with ‘labour’ representatives elected at the next local elections. It can be read in full here:

Publications update from Lancashire Loominary

Allen Clarke (‘Teddy Ashton’) Lancashire’s Romantic Radical is back from the printers but I’m going to delay a full launch until September when something approximating ‘normality’ might be back, allowing events in both Bolton and Blackpool. The first edition was published in 2009 and the new one substantially improves on the original, in my estimation. There’s some new information about his life and work and an entirely new chapter on his railway writings (‘Teddy Ashton Takes the Train’).

The current plan is once the Allen Clarke is duly launched I’ll publish a new book on the Lancashire –Whitman connection. This will incorporate most of With Walt Whitman in Bolton (published in 2019) with an entirely new section on Whitman’s wider influence on Northern socialism. It will be called Unlikely Pioneers – Walt Whitman, the Bolton Boys and Northern Labour 1885-2022. I’m not sure whether to do it as a print edition or just by kindle, which is much less trouble, but less fun. Comments welcome, I still have some copies of With Walt Whitman in Bolton left, which I’m selling for a fiver.

I’m doing a pre-publication offer on the Allen Clarke book – it will sell at £18.99 in the shops and on Amazon (plus postage) but I’ll do it for £15 with free local delivery c/o Bolton Bicycling Bookshop, or £3 postage in the UK. See for details of how to buy it.

New books from my pals

Here’s details of four excellent books that have two things in common – they’re all written by good friends and all feature , to some extent, railways. So no big surprise, each is very different. Stan Abbott, who played a major role in the fight to save the Settle-Carlisle Line in the 1980s, has published Walking The Line – exploring Settle-Carlisle Country. It’s a detailed description of a linear walk along the route of the railway, using public rights of way. It’s really well written – much more than just a walking guide, it has history, anecdote and a strong personal touch. It sells at £9.99 and is published by Saraband.

Martin Bairstow, who features elsewhere in this Salvo (Coniston story) has lived (at least) two lives – as an accountant, often acting for disreputable railway consultancy clients (like me) and as a very reputable railway historian. His latest work is a new edition of Railways in the Lake District and includes the Cumbrian Coast and Furness Lines, Windermere and Coniston branches, the late and much lamented Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith line as well as the Lake steamers and Barrow Docks. Martin puts his encyclopaedic knowledge of railway history to god use and has a very good feel for railway politics. His account of the closures of the Lakeside and CK&P routes are of great value. He rightly bemoans the closure (one of the last) of the Penrith – Keswick Line in 1972. What a difference it would have made to ‘sustainable transport’ in the Lakes had it survived. But at least we’ve got the Coast Line and Windermere Branch – the latter very much in need of electrification and double-tracking, at least in part to permit a more frequent service as leisure travel takes off post-Pandemic. It’s priced at £17.95 and is published by Martin himself, at 53 Kirklees Drive, Farsley, Pudsey.

In the early days of community railways we had strong support from a number of BR managers. Foremost amongst them, together with David Prescott, was John Davies. John has spent much of his railway career in South Wales and knows the ‘Valley’s intimately. He was largely responsible for the renaissance of the Valleys Lines back in the 1990s as Regional Railways Manager for Wales. John has always been passionate about railways and the transformation of the Valleys Lines was partly informed by John seeing at first hand what can be achieved with regional railways elsewhere in Europe and further afield. His book From Hell to Paradise – and a thousand places in between is about his travels around the world, usually with his beloved Josianne, to whom the book is dedicated. Of the four books it is the most ‘personal’ but there’s plenty of politics and ‘railway’ in it too. John has a great love of American railroads and his travels around the USA are a fascinating contrast to his trips around Europe. The book is self-published and sells at £17.99. Email John at for details of how to get it.

The fourth member of this mates’ quartet is Richard Horrocks’ fascinating Turton Tower: A Caretaker’s History. It is edited from the notes of Albert Barrett who was caretaker of the historic house north of Bolton, between 1948 and 1964. I’ve known and loved Turton Tower for many years – it was always a favourite spot to watch, and later photograph, steam locos climb the steep gardient between Bolton and Entwistle. I got to know th house itself, a remarkable amalgam of different styles and periods which somehow works. There is some dispute as to how old the place is, with some suggesting the 12th century while others say the 15th century. But take it from Richard, it’s old. He takes us through the history of the building and its occupants, including Lees Knowles, an early patron of the Lancashire Authors’ Association in the 1920s. The building was managed by Turton Urban District Council from 1930 although today it is run by Blackburn with Darwen Council. Albert was appointed by Turton UDC in 1948 and lived in the building with his family until his retirement in 1964. Interestingly, the Tower was only made into a museum in 1952 and the Council was fortunate in having such a devoted employee to look after it. Albert’s notes reflect someone with a deep passion and interest for the Tower’s history. What makes Richard’s book so special is the role of Albert Barrett, clearly a most unusual chap – all too often people like him get air-brushed out of the history of these historic buildings. The book costs £9.99 and is available through Amazon or from the Turton Tower shop and Wright’s Reads in Horwich.

My photo gallery – an emphasis on steam (but not completely)

I’ve been making some changes to my website/s…I’m keeping  for all publications, including The Salvo. However, has been re-born as Paul Salveson Photography: places, trains and factories or summat like that.

There are several pages dealing with different aspects of my photography: BR Steam, Continental Steam, The Modern Railway, Industrial Steam, Northern Rural Landscapes, Mills and Mines, and Strikes, Riots and Demonstrations. This is my current favourite: Industrial Railways UK 1966 – 1980 – Paul Salveson Photography

Good places to buy my books and other things

As lockdown eases, more shops are opening  which sell my books. These include Carnforth Bookshop, Wrights’ Reads in Horwich, Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford and Kelsall’s in Littleborough. Please support your local bookshops, it’s vital they survive. A great feature of any walk up Rivington Pike is the Pike Snack Shack on George’s Lane – a long way up, the last place before you get on the track to the summit. They do coffee, pies, sandwiches and cakes for takeaway and you can sit amidst the heather and savour the view across the West Lancashire Plain. You can also buy copies of Moorlands, Memories and Reflections.  Another popular addition to my list of retail outlets is Bunbury’s real ale shop at 397 Chorley Old Road, Bolton. A slightly unconventional outlet is A Small Good Thing, on Church Road. This is a great little shop mainly selling organic fruit and veg and a range of ‘small good things’. Fletcher’s Newsagents on Markland Hill Bolton are stockists. Justicia Fair Trade Shop on Knowsley Street, Bolton, is handy for the town centre and has a full set of my books available (and some great gifts from around the world, ethically sourced).

Winter Hill 125 – this September, have a walk o’er Winter Hill

Plans to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the 1896 Winter Hill ‘mass trespass’ continue to evolve with strong interest from a wide range of groups and individuals. The celebration will take place on Sunday


September 5th 2021 – get it in your diary now! It will set off at 10.30 from the bottom of Halliwell Road, with assembling from 10.00 onwards. We expect the walk to take about four hours – Diamond Bus is providing buses to get people back from Belmont to Smithills and Bolton.

My book on the mass trespass is available price £5 (plus postage if not local) – see below. It is hoped to have some major events this year, circumstances permitting. More details to follow. The best way of keeping updated is to join the Winter Hill 125 facebook page.

Small Salvoes

  • Bolton Diggers are running a series of talks on ‘The Alternative Economy’ in the town’s Victoria Hall. The first one kicked off on June 30th, at 6.00 and they have been well attended. These free talks and participative workshops take place every Wednesday evening at 6pm in the old coffee bar at Victoria Halls between June 30th and September 1st. This will be followed by a ‘Made in Bolton’ local products fair (date to be arranged.)
  • Humanity trumps politics: it was good to see the respectful messages from local opposition politicians to the untimely death of Council Leader (and Conservative) Cllr David Greenhalgh, who died suddenly at the age of 53. My own condolences to his friends and family; a decent man by all accounts.
  • Plans are underway for Autumn events by the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, the cross-party campaign for Northern devolution and democracy. Details will be posted on HMF’s recently-updated website:

Aagh! Crank Quiz returns…Sheds and seating

Several readers (well, one) laments the absence of the Salvo ‘Crank Quiz’. Well OK, showing appropriate responsiveness to customer demand, it’s back! In fact two quizzes. The first was suggested by that man in the water tower, Mark Rand of Settle. He mentioned amusing railway signage, giving examples of the station seats at Settle (‘SettleDown’ on the down line and ‘Settle Up’ on t’other) and a named class 66 ‘The Flying Dustman’. So please send examples, with photos if possible, of amusing official or unofficial examples of signage/etc.

The other part of the Crank Quiz is inspired by my new-found horticultural zeal. Please name loco sheds (with shed codes unless a sub-shed) of loco sheds with horticultural themes. There are too many stations, junctions etc. so don’t go there, but sheds should keep you busy.


Special Traffic Notices: Coming Events

Sunday September 5th. Winter Hill Trespass Memorial Walk: assemble 10.00 bottom of Halliwell Road, Bolton,  for 10.30 departure. Buses from Bolton Interchange to starting point and special buses back from Belmont in the afternoon. Bring flask and sandwiches, sturdy footwear and waterproofs!


The Salvo Publications List  – see

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. If you are local you are welcome to call round and pick books up on the doorstep, or the Bolton Bicycling Bookshop can deliver to yours.

Allen Clarke/Teddy Ashton – Lancashire’s Romantic Radical (NEW!). The story of Lancashire’s errant genius – cyclist, philosopher, unsuccessful politician, amazingly popular dialect writer.  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. Publication date September 1st . Pre-publication offer of £15 plus free local delivery or £3 postage

Moorlands, Memories and Reflections (2020) A hundred years ago Lancashire writer Allen Clarke published a forgotten masterpiece – Moorlands and Memories, sub-titled ‘rambles and rides in the fair places of Steam-Engine Land’. Clarke’s biographer, Professor Paul Salveson, has published a new book celebrating Clarke’s original and bringing the story of Lancashire’s moorland heritage up to date. Maxine Peake, in her foreword to Paul’s book, says “Hill walking, cycling, literature, philosophy, protest and The North…. these are a few of my favourite things.” She adds “Paul Salveson’s new book on Allen Clarke is irresistible.” Price £20 – see the website for details of how to buy:

The Works (2020). My first novel , set in Horwich and Bolton in the 1970s and 1980s but bringing the story up to the present and beyond. Much of the action takes place in Horwich Loco Works and the campaign to save it from closure. In real life, it closed down in 1983. In the novel, after a workers’ occupation it is run as a co-operative, building both steam for heritage railways and modern eco-friendly trains for the world market. Price £6 (special offer) . Also on Kindle £4.99.

Will Yo’ Come O’ Sunday Mornin’? The Winter Hill Trespass of 1896 (1996). Quite a few copies have re-surfaced and are available price £5 – with all proceeds going to Bolton Socialist Club, which played the main part in organising the original demonstrations in 1896. This was Britain’s biggest-ever rights of way battle with a series of demonstrations which peaked at 12,000 one Sunday afternoon in September 1896.

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. 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. Special offer £5 (plus postage if you’re not local).

The Settle-Carlisle Railway (2019) published by Crowood and available in most 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

You can get a better idea from going to my website:




By Paul Salveson

Paul was born in Bolton in 1952, one day before the Harrow and Wealdstone rail disaster. He has had a varied career, mostly to do with railways, mixed in with adult education, journalism, politics and community development. After a 25 year exile he is back home in Bolton. He is a visiting professor at the Universities of Bolton and Huddersfield and chairs South East Lancs Community Rail Partnership

7 replies on “Northern Weekly Salvo 295”

Hi, Paul, varied and interesting as ever. You could have knocked me down with a feather! I never knew that REPTA is still active. I recall being a member in my BR days back in the 1980s. Enjoy the weekend catching up with friends.

3B Bushbury
10A Springs Branch
10E Sutton Oak
24B Rose Grove
27B Aintree
53B Hull Botanic Gardens
54C Borough Gardens

Ian Allan ABC 1955 Edition

Peter Kirkham

I do recall the late Charles Kennedy MP pointing out many years ago that the result of leaving Europe would lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom. He was right. I despair at the way this country is being run. Our democratic system is not fit for purpose, but for too many years this issue has been ignored by many of the political parties.

After much timetable research I found that the Rotala 132 bus runs hourly from Wigan bus station, via Atherton, to the RHS Bridgewater Gardens and then on to the Trafford Centre. This provides a bus link from the West Coast Main Line at Wigan to the Trafford Centre Metrolink tram network. Why not rebrand and market the route as the “Bridgewater Link” with garden-style vinyls? Better still, bring back the SLT trolleybuses which would have trundled past the Bridgewater gardens’ entrance on Leigh Road until 1956.

[…] Here is a link to the latest  Northern ‘Weekly’ Salvo number 295 –  England and ‘Englishness’ (see below), reviews of books by some old mates, trips to Coniston and Ulverston, a literary walk on the moors and the new exhibition of ‘Railway Workers’ Art’ at the Platform 5 Gallery , Bolton. Plus the new RHS gardens at Worsley with  comments about the lack of decent public transport access. It’s here: […]

Sorry for the delay but I wanted to make a crank quiz suggestion. Incidentally I did not find any others. Here it is 54C/52J Borough Gardens.

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