Archive for July, 2009

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Beware – bus replacements on the last train next Monday to Thursday

July 29, 2009

According to National Rail the 23.20 from Victoria to Walkden will be replaced by a bus next Monday to Thursday (3rd – 6th August).
Unless you enjoy slow journeys without toilets we suggest you avoid this service on these days.
Please note this is a change to previous National Rail advice which indicated the bus replacements would only run Tuesday-Thursday.

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Congratulations Marion !

July 24, 2009

Congratulations are due to Walkden’s very own Marion Bainbridge for being Highly Commended in the Frontline Employee Of The Year category at the National Transport Awards in London this week.

To achieve recognition at the highest national level, singled out from tens of thousands of staff working on bus, rail, plane and ferry services, is an incredible achievement !

We always knew we were lucky to have Marion in the Ticket Office at Walkden … now the whole country knows it too !

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Sunday services come a step closer

July 22, 2009

At a meeting last Friday GMITA’s Train & Metrolink Committee gave its support to a proposal to introduce an hourly Sunday service from Wigan to Manchester via Atherton, Walkden and Swinton.

This is an exciting step forward, and one which FOWS are very grateful to the committee members for taking, but it doesn’t mean the service will necessarily go ahead … the budget has yet to be approved by a separate committee.

The story is featured in today’s Boton Evening News, including quotes from one of the councillors (David Wilkinson) who supported the proposal and FOWS chair Peter Aust.

So we can’t count any chickens just yet, but fingers crossed we may be getting closer to Sunday trains running again from Walkden !

FOWS would like to express their thanks to staff and councillors at Northern Rail and GMITA who have supported our campaign and worked hard to bring the Sunday trains proposal so much closer to fruition.

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Engine falls off Northern Pacer

July 21, 2009

One passenger was taken to hospital with whiplash injuries when a Northern Pacer (class 142) train derailed last month at Broad Green in Liverpool. The cause of the accident has been revealed as the engine having fallen from the underside of the train.

Incredibly this is not the first time the engine has fallen from one of these trains which have long been the focus of safety concerns: in 1995 another Pacer derailment on the Cumbrian coast line was caused by exactly the same failure.

Despite their unpopularity among passengers, Pacer trains are used on around half the services through Walkden.

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Another station hump installed

July 21, 2009

The fibre-glass “hump” trialled on the low platforms at Harrington (Cumbria) last year is now being tested at a busier, suburban station in St Albans. This is thought to indicate Network Rail’s trial means of affordably raising the level of a platform section worked well enough at a relatively quiet, rural station to be tested in a busier, suburban environment.

Passengers at Walkden will continue to watch the results of Harrington Hump trials with interest, as it is thought to offer our best hope of fixing the historically high and dangerous platform gap at Walkden.

FOWS have written to Network Rail to request that Walkden is prioritised if and when the “hump” is approved for national use.

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Northern Rail keeps up satisfaction ratings but value-for-money falls

July 21, 2009

The Passenger Focus Spring 2009 passenger survey shows overall satisfaction among Northern Rail passengers holding steady at 80%, a percentage point up on the same time last year. In the context of other rail operators Northern is virtually identical to the national average (81%) but worse than the average (86%) for Regional (i.e. excluding long distance and London area) operators.

January’s above-inflation fare rises hit the value-for-money rating of most operators, Northern included. Its figure this spring shows just 54% of passengers believe their ticket offers good value for money, falling 8% from the previous survey in August last year. The national level of dissatisfaction is so high that Northern’s score remains one of the best in the country: the overall average is a dismal 40% (down 6%) and for regional operators it’s 55% (also down 6%).

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Sunflowers suffer at the hands of vandals

July 9, 2009

Sadly, the sunflowers on the Manchester platform have suffered an attack of vandalism.

Click here for a reminder of how lovely they looked on Sunday.

We can only feel sorry for passengers who have enjoyed the sight of these beautiful plants surging toward the sun, and also for the individual responsible who clearly has some issues if they enjoy attacking pretty flowers !