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Extra trains for Christmas Saturdays

November 27, 2014

Northern Rail are laying on some extra services on Saturdays, and extra carriages on Sundays, in the run up to Christmas.

It took us a while to find the announcement but here are the details of 5 extra trains into Manchester on Saturday mornings, and 9 coming back in the afternoon and evening: Christmas Comes Early for Festive Travellers.

Meanwhile, Sunday trains appear to have been upgraded to 4 carriages: last Sunday all trains ran as 4 carriages, but even then some were “full and standing”.

This is undoubtedly extremely welcome news from Northern, and we applaud them for finding some extra carriages from their very stretched resources. However, such is the demand for train travel at this time of year we can only echo Northern’s warning that trains will be very busy and you may not be able to get on your preferred service – so make plans to travel a bit earlier if you can.

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Passenger Numbers Hold Steady

November 22, 2014

This year’s FOWS passenger count on Nov 20th recorded almost identical passenger numbers using the station as last year: 707 instead of 711.

Around 50 extra passengers used the trains towards Manchester, counter balanced by 40 less in the Wigan direction – evidence perhaps of road users giving up on the congested East Lancs and A6 to try the train ? If so they would have found a good service in operation with some full trains (but all passengers able to board), good punctuality, and only one (off-peak) service cancelled.

The graph below shows the impressive rise in passenger numbers since FOWS’ first survey in 2007.

For full details of the survey results, check the Passenger Numbers page on the FOWS website.

TotalPaxPerYear2014

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Sign the Petition Against Northern Fare Hikes

August 23, 2014

The Campaign for Better Transport are running an on-line petition against scrapping of Cheap Evening fares in Greater Manchester and introduction of higher fares for afternoon/evening services.

If you object to the changes please take a minute to sign the petition here.

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New date for next FOWS meeting

August 19, 2014

fows_small_png_logoFOWS next meeting will be on Wednesday (17th September) at 7.15pm in the British Legion Club on Wilfred Street, 5 minutes walk from the station.

Our meetings are free to attend and open to all comers – you don’t need to be a member. If you have something to say about the station or would like to know more about what we’re doing to try and keep improving it, why not come along ?

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Steep rises in evening ticket prices ahead

August 16, 2014

Northern Rail have responded to Government pressure to increase revenue by raising fares for afternoon/evening journeys.

From September 8th passengers will need to buy more expensive “Anytime” tickets to travel in Greater Manchester between 16.01 and 18.29. The restrictions apply to all travel – not just the direction of peak flow – and also extend beyond the Greater Manchester boundary to a confusing selection of other routes.

At Walkden we are perhaps fortunate that the popular 18.30 service into Manchester leaves just one minute after the new “peak” time so still remains eligible for off-peak tickets.

However, if you make an evening trip into Manchester from Walkden on the 16.29, 16.49, 17.29 or 17.52 services you will need to buy a £6.80 Anytime Return after Sept. 8th, a 76% increase over the £3.90 Off Peak return.

For passengers returning to Walkden after a day in Manchester, the 16.14, 16.46, 17.17, 17.47, and 18.14 departures from Victoria will all be unusable unless you buy an Anytime ticket.

To add to travellers’ misery, the popular Cheap Evening Return tickets will also scrapped doubling the evening return fare from Walkden to Manchester from £1.95 to £3.90 – so much for the government wanting to encourage people off the roads !

The move is bound to be deeply unpopular with passengers who have faced above-inflation fare increases for many years, and has drawn criticism from consumer protection groups like Passenger Focus and Travel Watch NorthWest.

As well as hitting people’s wallets the changes seems sure to introduce more yet confusion and difficulty for Northern’s front-line staff who will have the unenviable job of enforcing the increases.

The question should also be asked whether the move will even achieve its objective as on many routes (Walkden to Manchester included) bus services are available that will offer a more frequent and – after these price rises – cheaper alternative .

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FOWS install new planters at Walkden station

August 10, 2014
FOWS volunteers beside the new cube planter installed today

FOWS volunteers beside the new cube planter installed today

Several hardy FOWS volunteers braved this morning’s heavy rain to install the latest additions to our on-going environmental improvements plan – a third steel trough and another steel cube planter.

Volunteers also cleaned graffiti from the shelter, weeded the flower beds and planted some summer bedding.

Once again our thanks go to Salford City Council for the In Bloom funding which makes these improvements possible, and local supplies J. Hughes Engineering and Linnyshaw Garden Centre for their excellent quality products and generous free deliveries.

The latest trough from J. Hughes sparkling in the Walkden rain

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FOWS call for electrification and increased Sunday service in next Northern Rail franchise

August 10, 2014

The Northern Rail franchise, currently operated as a joint venture between Serco and Abellio, will be handed to a new operator from spring 2016 and the government’s selection process has begun in earnest.

FOWS and the Friend’s groups at Atherton, Daisy Hill and Westhoughton have produced a joint response to the government’s invitation for railway stakeholders to input to the requirements of the next franchise agreement.

Our response can be downloaded here and includes the following key points:

  • to maximise efficiency savings and improve capacity the route from Hindley to Salford Crescent via Atherton and Walkden needs to be included in the north-west electrification programme as soon as possible;
  • increasing the hours of operation of the highly successful Sunday service to facilitate morning journeys into Manchester for shop workers, and evening journeys home for travellers returning home from weekends away or days out.
  • increasing revenue and helping keep Ticket Offices open by increasing the range of services available;
  • cleaner, faster trains will drive further passenger growth in the north.
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