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Volunteers help Walkden bloom again

August 2, 2015

FOWS have been busy at the station today replenishing a few of the troughs and planters that have suffered mistreatment from human and animal vandals.

FoWS volunteers by the Wigan platform flower bed

FoWS volunteers by the Wigan platform flower bed

Over the last few months the low troughs at the end of the platform have been a magnet for young foxes who regard the fresh compost as a kind of play pit with the added attraction of yummy worms and grubs. Their digging has almost emptied one trough and left deep holes in the other, all of which we were able to repair today.

The new Weeping Willow

The new Weeping Willow

We also planted a weeping willow in place of the lilac that was mindlessly uprooted and snapped recently and weeded the flower beds, where the astromeria is looking particularly gorgeous this year.

We hope station users and passing train passengers will enjoy the colours and textures of the summer “display” at Walkden station !

As always, we are immensely grateful to Salford City Council‘s Community Committee In Bloom scheme for their financial support which makes the upkeep of the station gardens possible, and to Albert and the team at Linnyshaw Garden Centre for their excellent plants and friendly service.

The worst fox-damaged planter, before today's gardening

The worst fox-damaged planter, before today’s gardening

A train arriving from Manchester Victoria passes the newly re-planted troughs

A train arriving from Manchester Victoria passes the newly re-planted troughs

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Engineering cancelled: Sunday trains will operate as normal tomorrow

July 4, 2015

We’re told by local Northern staff that a normal Sunday train service will operate at Walkden tomorrow (5th July).

Online journey planners are still showing bus replacements, but in fact the planned engineering works have been cancelled – unfortunately it seems no-one told the national timetable computer !

It’s a good job we still have a manned Booking Office at Walkden for situations like these when online resources go bad.

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Consumer Champions fight back for passenger threatened with court for 70p short fare

June 30, 2015

FoWS applauds Northern Rail’s efforts to cut down on the fare-dodging that was endemic when they took over the regional franchise, and have no truck with passengers who deliberately seek to avoid paying their way.

However, the approach has been a infuriatingly inconsistent (no barrier checks at Oxford Road on a summer Sunday afternoon … really ?!) and press stories about heavy-handed treatment of people making innocent mistakes appear with worrying frequency. The afternoon/evening peak rules that were introduced last year are a classic example of fare rules so complex even some ticket office staff admitted they couldn’t understand them, so what hope infrequent passengers ?

Should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being unfairly accused of fare evasion it may be worth noting that newspapers’ “Consumer Champions” sometimes have more success at challenging Northern Rail than individuals, as demonstrated by this story about a traveller from Bolton in last weekend’s Guardian threatened with a criminal record for a 70p short fare.

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“Northern Powerhouse” rail projects paused

June 27, 2015

Bad news this week as Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that due to higher than expected costs on some of Network Rail’s schemes in the south, two major modernisation schemes in the north have been “paused” (Sheffield to London, and the Transpennine electrification). It’s not yet clear how long the pause will be or if it might lead to cancellation of some schemes, but it certainly throws doubt over what improvements will be delivered in our area in the next few years.

We do not know if the Wigan to Bolton scheme is to go ahead as planned or will also come under review, and electrification of the route through Walkden, proposed by a government task force in March this year, seems highly likely to be delayed or cancelled.

The more electrification schemes are cancelled or delayed then the fewer diesel units will become available for use on routes like ours. With the government having already announced the withdrawal of all Pacers by 2020 and no replacement trains on order there is a danger of a major shortfall of trains in a few years time.

Labour have claimed that the government knew about Network Rail’s difficulties but chose to announce the “Northern Powerhouse” proposals as an election promise that could not be delivered, claims denied by the government and DfT.

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QAVS congratulations for FoWS

June 27, 2015

QAVS Official LogoWe have been delighted to receive congratulations messages from many of our friends and colleagues around Salford and in the voluntary sector.

We’ve also received some very kind letters from our civic leaders including City Mayor Ian Stewart who said:

It is with immense pleasure that I write to congratulate you and the volunteers of FoWS in achieving the QAVS… FoWS volunteers have worked extremely hard in raising the profile of Walkden station within the wider community and campaigning for better local transport services and facilities. … congratulations and well done

Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South has also written to say:

I would like to warmly congratulate all the FoWS group on the honour of receiving the QAVS … It is testament to your hard work and dedication to improve Walkden station and to campaign for better rail services locally … I appreciate all the work that the group has done in the past few years to improve Walkden station and rail services through the station … congratulations on receiving this prestigious award.

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Come to the Costa del Walkden !

June 27, 2015

CostaDelWalkdenPosterWalkden Community are hosting a beach themed family event at Parr Fold Park on Sunday 12th July, from 1pm to 4pm with a focus on protection in the sun.

There will be live entertainment on the band stand with Belles on the Beach and Farnworth and Walkden Brass Band. Other attractions will include:

  • Bouncy castles
  • donkeys
  • cakes
  • ice cream
  • face painting
  • tea marquee
  • special coffees
  • fish and chips
  • FREE sand pit
  • craft area

For more details please see the Walkden Community Costa del Walkden facebook page.

Parr Fold Park is just a 2-3 minute walk from Walkden station and there are hourly trains in both directions between Wigan and Manchester calling at Walkden on Sunday afternoons. Visit the National Rail Enquiries website for full details.

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FoWS honoured with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

June 27, 2015
QAVS Official Logo

FoWS are now entitled to use the official QAVS logo above in communications and publications

FoWS are delighted to have be honoured with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) in recognition of our members’ efforts to improve the station facilities and services.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Friends of Walkden Station will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester later this summer.

Andy Barlow, Chair of Friends of Walkden Station, said “We are absolutely delighted to receive this very prestigious award, which is a reflection of the efforts of our volunteers whose work makes a real difference to our local community. We warmly welcome anyone who would like to join our group, and help us to deliver further improvements to Walkden Station for everyone to enjoy”.

Please see our Press Release for more information about the award.

If you would like to know more about FoWS or get involved, why not come along to our next meeting to be held at 7.15pm on Wednesday 15th July in Walkden Legion Club (Wilfred Road, M28 3AJ) ?

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