How I came to like Rotherwood (Sheffield) Traincrews

In May 1976 – or was it 1978? – the GMPTE decided to introduce a new pattern of service throughout South Manchester, Piccadilly to Hadfield, Rose Hill (Marple), New Mills and Sheffield local services were to see significant increases.

My tale however should start the previous summer with the preparation of that years winter leave rosters for drivers at Guide Bridge. When they were completed a member of the LDC (local trade union official) said he thought there was something seriously wrong with the rosters, (HOW RIGHT HE WAS). We deliberated further at great length and despite tearing the rosters apart we could find nothing wrong, so the rosters were jointly agreed and published.

During February, March and April 1976 or 1978 the GMPTE called several meetings at Devonshire House to discus their proposals, at which time we were required to give assurances that all was well and that the planned changes would have a flawless implementation. The hospitality was quite good also.

In March the summer leave rosters were published and it was then that THE TICKING BOMB EXPLODED, the leave rosters overlapped. This meant that there was almost twice the number of drivers on leave during the first week of the new timetable and the chance of covering the proposed changes to local services had become A MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

Relations with the LDC during this period had become a little strained and my request for assistance to solve what was in effect a joint error was met with crocodile tears but no practical help. A CAREER CHANGE LOOKED IMINENT AFTER MAY.

During April there was many sleepless nights and whilst I had promises from adjacent depots that they would assist all they could, the chances of covering all the new services was NIL

The weekend prior to the new timetable arrived with no change in the staff position and few offers of help from outside, when my salvation appeared in the unlikely guise of a Rothwood traincrew. Sad for them but fortuitous for me the empty mineral wagon train they were working from Ardwick to Rotherwood that Saturday morning became derailed between Mottram and Hadfield causing extensive track damage for a distance in excess of one mile and this included the section over Dinting Viaduct which closed the MSW for over a week.

With all the electric drivers in No 7 link DMU trained and the MSW route closed for a week I had all the staff needed for a flawless introduction of the new timetable with men to spare.

My subsequent promotions were down to this remarkable incident and I have often pondered over the question. Is there really a GOD in heaven or could it be that the DEVIL is alive and well and living in Sheffield.

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