Archive for October, 2009

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Our thanks to Network Rail for station painting

October 31, 2009

Repainted walls and handrails at Walkden

Repainted walls and handrails at Walkden

Hats off to Network Rail who have repainted the stairway walls at Walkden as part of the roof repair project.

The walls of the stairs and booking hall had not been painted for many years and had become dirty and stained, while the red paint on the handrails was peeling and flaking away.

As our picture shows, the shiny new walls and handrails are a great improvement and give the station a much more inviting appearance. And from the way passengers rounded on kids suspected of recent graffiti damage to the station, the bright and clean walls are well appreciated by station users too !

As we understand the situation from previous discussions, repainting of the walls is the responsibility of the train operating company (Northern Rail). Network Rail’s decoration work is therefore even more appreciated as it was not their responsibility to tackle the job anyway.

The newly-retiled station roof at Walkden

The newly-retiled station roof at Walkden

The roof repairs, which started in August, are nearly complete and most of the scaffold will be removed this weekend, putting an end to some local kids’ dangerous use of it as a climbing frame.

Away from the public areas of the station Network Rail have installed a floor in a disused room which should provide lots of useful storage space for staff.

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FOWS meet Northern Rail at the Business North West Conference

October 30, 2009

FOWS Chairman Peter Aust with Elissa Robinson from Northern Rail

FOWS Chairman Peter Aust with Elissa Robinson from Northern Rail

Hello FOWS Bloggers, I was working at the Business North West at Manchester Central this week and during a break took a look around the exhibition stands and guess what? a Northern Rail stand came into view.

Never wanting to miss an opportunity to remind Northern of our objectives, I had a few words with the charming Elissa Robinson, Sales Manager who was looking after the stand at the time.

Although of course our problems do not fall into her area of responsible Elissa listened sympathetically and – who knows ? – the message may get through, whatever, we must keep on message !!

Peter

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Pillar as good as new !

October 14, 2009

Freshly painted pillar on platform 1

Freshly painted pillar on platform 1

Thanks to Northern and Network Rail for fixing the first pillar on the Manchester platform which has been over-flowing and corroding since the canopy was repainted last summer.

The freshly painted pillar looks great and we’re delighted the water damage to this part of the station’s fabric has been staunched.

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FOWS make the case for Walkden with Transport bosses and planners

October 6, 2009

Our Chairman Peter Aust has sent this report of his meeting with transport “top brass” and politicians – another example of how FOWS works, often behind the scenes, to secure improvements for Walkden station.

FOWS Chairman Peter Aust meeting Shadow Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP

FOWS Chairman Peter Aust meeting Shadow Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP

Hello Friends, On Monday last in my capacity as Chair of FOWS I attended a seminar at Manchester Town Hall entitled ” The Future of Rail in the North. The Speakers were Stephen Hammond MP, Shadow Transport Minister Edward Timpson MP,Crewe & Natwich Councillor Ian Macdonald, Vice Chairman GMITA Paul Plummer, Director, Planning & Regulation, Network Rail It was ably chaired by TV Presenter Andy Crane.

There were plenty of discussions about the Manchester Hub (not just about Manchester) that is a major bottleneck on the rail network that negatively impacts on rail services for the whole of the North of England and the proposal of a high-speed line from London to Glasgow, which would include a stop at Manchester. It was fortunate that Cllr Iain Lindley who was in attendance highlighted to the panel the importance also of the issues concerning local rail stations such as Walkden, yes! Walkden got a mention!!

I had the chance to meet a few of the top brass and spread the word about FOWS, Tom Wadsworth, Communications Manager of Network Rail, Emma Pemberton-Eccles, Public Affairs Manager Network Rail and even a quick word and a photo opportunity with Stephen Hammond, MP, Shadow Transport Minister.

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Newton Heath depot visit

October 3, 2009
A class 142 in the depot at Newton Heath

A class 142 in the depot at Newton Heath

Thanks to our friends at Northern, FOWS today visited Newton Heath depot for an informal open day commemorating the last day of trains running on the Oldham Loop.

We were given an interesting tour of the repair and paintshops by Northern staff who had kindly come in on their days off to act as hosts and guides.

The depot’s 200-strong workforce’s achievements are impressive, coaxing much improved reliability out of the 100+ aged diesel units in their care. Passengers will also have noticed the on-going refurbishment process which has seen nearly all of the units turned out in Northern colours, and many of them fitted with new and better quality seating, wheelchair spaces and areas with tip-up seats that can accommodate bicycles.

Freshly painted class 156 unit outside NewtonHeath depot

Freshly painted class 156 unit outside NewtonHeath depot

We were interested to learn that Northern’s trains are all painted by hand: it takes a team of 6 painters 3 days to complete a unit like the freshly out-shopped example shown here.

A big thank you to the Northern staff, both for today’s visit and their excellent work improving an aging fleet on a limited budget.

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“Leaf Fall” timetable begins Monday

October 3, 2009

Next Monday (Oct 5th) sees the start of the so-called “Leaf Fall” timetable on the Walkden line, with train times adjusted to allow a little more time to cope with delays caused by fallen leaves on the line. The idea is to help keep punctuality and reliability up despite the problems with leaves.

Although the same number of trains will run as at present, the timings of many are altered by a few minutes one way or another, so you do need to recheck your departure time before travelling.

For example, most Manchester bound services that currently leave Walkden at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour will be leaving at 17 and 48 minutes past the hour instead. These are not the only services affected !

The new timetable can be downloaded from Northern Rail here.