Archive for March, 2008


Pigeon netting repaired … well, sort of …

March 15, 2008
Pigeon netting … and more pigeons It’s taken them over a year but Network Rail have finally made some repairs to the pigeon netting under the road bridge outside the station and on Hilton Lane.

The improvements are welcome and most areas directly above the pavement have been netted, but large gaps have been left where – as our picture shows – there’s still plenty of room for our feathered foes to nest and strut their stuff.

We can only hope that Network Rail intend to return and complete the job or else the station area will continue to attract the birds and their mess on the people and pavements below.


Northern Rail Gardening Grant

March 15, 2008
Manchester platform flower bed FOWS were delighted to receive a £50 grant from Northern Rail this week towards further gardening improvements on the station. We plan to put the money toward finishing the far end of the border on the Manchester platform (left).

Northern Rail reply to AGM questions

March 15, 2008
Nothern Logo Our friends at Northern Rail have come back with answers to some questions raised at our recent AGM. We would like to thank Northern for the answers below:

1) Desirable though it may be, we can’t aim to provide perfect connections to facilitate every potential journey opportunity. Generally the timings of trains on each route are determined by the key locations such as Salford Crescent and Victoria. Paths at Salford Crescent will be dictated by the TPE services and our Airport – Southports, and their paths are determined by paths approaching Piccadilly, (determined by Virgin, Cross Country etc) and getting through the busy Piccadilly-Ordsall Lane corridor. This,of course applies in both directions and another challenge is to allocate the available paths in each direction to particular routes so that you get sensible turn round times at each end. Where possible we do try to get reasonable connections between linked routes (eg between Victoria and Piccadilly lines at Salford Crescent), but as I hope you can see, the flexibility to tweak timings to optimise connections is fairly limited.

3) Planning for Sunday services from December is still at an early stage. We are working through business cases for a number of possible enhancements to Sunday services on a number of routes, and are also discussing priorities with Gmpte. It is therefore too soon to say what will emerge for December, or subsequent timetable changes.


Station gets a scrub !

March 11, 2008
FOWS cleaning the station Fed up with waiting for the station to be cleaned by Northern Rail’s contractors FOWS volunteers have been busy sweeping and scrubbing the past couple of weekends.

Although we can’t reach the areas beyond arm’s reach nor shift some of the more stubborn stains with soap and hot water alone, we hope passengers will enjoy a slightly cleaner station for a few weeks at least.


More commuter misery

March 5, 2008

There have been severe over-crowding problems on Walkden’s busiest train – the 0804 to Manchester – every day this week as the service has been operated by low capacity 2-carriage “Pacer” units. Dozens of Manchester-bound passengers have been forced to travel out to Atherton only to board a train back to Manchester  – through Walkden ! – as their only means of getting to work on time.

Things went from bad to worse this morning as the train ran non-stop from Daisy Hill leaving around 70 passengers stranded at Walkden.

This situation is simply dreadful and actively driving passengers away from the railways. FOWS have raised the problem with Northern Rail and continue to press for the lengthening of Walkden’s platform so that longer trains can stop there in the rush hour.


Transport Cop the star at FOWS AGM

March 5, 2008

The audience discussed concerns including lack of Sunday services, the dirtiness of the station (particularly the frontage and the pigeon mess on the pavements), disabled access and the high platform step at last night’s AGM, and we welcomed a dozen new members to FOWS.

PC Gareth Wilson was the guest speaker and gave an interesting presentation on the operation of BTP and reported incidents of crime at Walkden in particular. Many in the crowd were surprised to learn that based on levels of reported crime Walkden is one of the less problematic stations in the area. Conceding that the lack of contact details for BTP on display at the station may contribute to some under-reporting, PC Wilson promised to speak to Northern Rail about installing a BTP poster at the station. PC Wilson also promised to look into a number of issues raised by the audience and investigate the possibility of a crime prevention campaign at Walkden. PCSO’s Michelle Mckeown and Melissa Birchall accompanied PC Wilson and promsied to schedule in some more visits to Walkden in the near future. The police asked for help from the public by contacting them with any information or concerns about crime at the station, and they re-assured the audience that all calls are taken seriously and will be followed up.

The AGM was well supported by local councillors with Iain Lindley, Les Turner & Beryl Howard all present. We were also pleased to welcome Sarah Clarkson representing Barbara Keeley (who was in Westminster), and Elizabeth Charnley from our colleagues at FRECCLES (the Friends of Eccles Station). An update from Barbara on her activities in support of the station is on display in our poster case at the station.

The three serving officers of FOWS were re-elected (unopposed) for another year.

If you were unable to attend the meeting but would still like to join FOWS, please drop us an email at


FOWS AGM is next Tuesday

March 1, 2008

At 7pm on Tuesday 4th March the FOWS Annual General Meeting is being held in the large Concert Room at the Royal British Legion in Wilfred Street, Walkden. The bar will be open for refreshments.

The meeting is open to the general public and all interested parties are cordially invited to attend.

If you would like to become more involved with FOWS, or to just to come along to show your support, we would love to see you there.

At our previous public meeting we enjoyed presentations from Northern Rail and Barbara Keeley MP. This time the focus is more on FOWS itself – the election of officers, membership sign-up and planning for the next year. We do however have a short update from British Transport Police on the crime issues that affect the station.

We look forward to seeing you there !