Archive for December, 2008

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Technology trial offers hope for platform gap

December 24, 2008

This week’s RAIL magazine reports that a new technology is being Harrington station in Cumbria to address the problem of platforms with very large gaps between platform and train height. The trial uses a reinforced plastic “hump” which can be attached to the platform to assist access on to and off of trains.

The story is also covered on Cumbria’s local council website.

Crucially in this cash-strapped age, Network Rail hope that if the trial is successful the technology may enable a platform to be modified for around £25,000 – that’s just 10% of the cost of raising a low platform using traditional building means.

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More support for Sunday Services

December 24, 2008
Barbara Keeley meets Northern Rail MD Heidi Mottram

Barbara Keeley meets Northern Rail MD Heidi Mottram

Regular readers of this blog will know that Worsley MP Barbara Keeley has been an active supporter of FOWS since our formation, and a long-time campaigner for Walkden station. Barbara has recently been pressing Northern Rail again to investigate a Sunday service from Walkden, and has received an update from their Area Director West Lee Wasnidge.

Mr Wasnidge has assured Barbara that the possibility of a Sunday service along the Walkden line is under discussion between Northern and GMPTE (who would need to part-subsidise the service), and that Northern will be working hard to turn this prospect into a success.

We regard this as a further encouraging sign that Sunday services are being given serious consideration by GMPTE and Northern Rail.

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Support for Sunday services campaign

December 21, 2008

FOWS recently wrote to all 3 Salford councillors who sit on GMPTA’s Transport Network Committee to press our case for Sunday services from Walkden. Our letter mentioned the support of station adopters and users from along the route at Atherton and Daisy Hill, from local MP Barbara Keeley and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. We stressed how valuable the service would be for both business and leisure travel, and recounted how we regularly meet dozens of disappointed would-be passengers when we work at the station on Sundays.

We were delighted to receive a letter of support from Worsley Councillor Ian Macdonald who is also Chair of the Transport Network Committee, and to learn that subsequently he has spoken in favour of Sunday services at a recent meeting between Northern Rail and GMPTA.

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A Sunday morning hangover …

December 14, 2008

One of our volunteers has been cleaning the station this morning – as he often does – and this is what he found …

“at station 0915 to 1030 cleared a full bag of rubbish. Cleared a Chicken Korma, the contents of someone’s stomach which had been thrown up on the side of one of the planters. Cleaned up as best I could without water.”

“Small firs on Manchester platform look to have been stolen for someone’s garden – I filled the holes with compost.”

Of course the vast majority of station users are decent people who would never dream of stealing public plants or creating such a mess, but what a shame a tiny, selfish minority want to spoil things for everyone else.

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New timetable starts tomorrow

December 14, 2008

The new winter timetable starts from Walkden tomorrow (Mon 15th Dec) and as previously discussed contains some radical changes to the service.

FOWS would like to hear how the new timetable affects passengers – why not add a comment to let us know how it’s working out for you ?

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New In Bloom planters add a festive touch to Walkden !

December 7, 2008
Tired but happy ! FOWS volunteers with the new planters on Walkden station.

Tired but happy ! FOWS volunteers with the new planters on Walkden station.

Thanks to a second “In Bloom” grant from Salford City Council the Friends of Walkden Station have completed a series of improvements to the environment at Walkden station.

The centrepieces of the latest works are two new stainless steel planters at the eastern end of the island platform (left). In the same style as the three planters already installed further down the platform, the new arrivals have slightly smaller dimensions and house two young conifers – topped off with festive silver and purple tinsel !

In addition to the new planters, FOWS have installed a brand new flower bed in a derelict area of land at the opposite end of the platform, as well as refreshing the larger flower beds on both Wigan and Manchester platforms.

Finally, the nearby Walkden Road shops are also to benefit from a set of Christmas wreaths.

As usual, FOWS have used local companies for their station improvement projects – the planters have been built by local engineering company J. Hughes and the plants and gardening materials are supplied by Linnyshaw Garden Centre.

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Wot no trains ?!

December 7, 2008

During FOWS’ work at the station this morning no less than 33 would-be passengers turned up in just 4 hours !

Of course we’re not the expert travel planning professionals, but we can’t help thinking that if this many people turn up for a service that last ran 40 years ago it must demonstrate some kind of demand for Sunday services from Walkden …