Archive for January, 2010

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GMITA back Walkden to Piccadilly trains

January 30, 2010

An article in this week’s RAIL magazine (RAIL 636, page 19) reports that GMITA have publicly stated their desire for a through service from the Walkden line to Manchester Piccadilly, amongst a raft of regional improvements that also include half-hourly stoppers between Manchester an Huddersfield, half-hourly service to New Mills or Buxton, and better stopping patterns at Gorton and Fairfield.

Diverting some Victoria service to run via Deansgate and Oxford Road to Piccadilly (and possibly the airport) has been an aspiration of FOWS that we have suggested several times to Northern Rail and GMPTE, so we are pleased to see the idea has support at ITA level.

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Mystery of the crumbling platform

January 27, 2010

Does anyone know what’s happened to the coping at the west end of platform 2 … three sections have fallen away.

We heard a rumour the platform gave way as a passenger disembarked, but frost damage seems more likely. Does anyone know … ?

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A word of thanks for Northern Rail

January 27, 2010

The 22.10 from Victoria was terminated at Salford Crescent on Monday evening when the train (a Pacer) suffered a speedometer failure … cue groans all round ! However, the crew were really attentive and advised passengers for the Atherton line to cross the platform for a return to Victoria where a replacement train would be organised.

We were pretty sceptical there would really be a replacement – after all, the train was only lightly loaded and there was another one scheduled to leave Victoria in less than an hour.

But to our pleasant surprise and Northern’s credit, a replacement train was immediately commandeered and thus passengers made it to their destinations with the minimum of delay.

Not only had Northern run a replacement train in circumstances that I suspect would have led other companies to simply cancel, but the driver and guard made themselves available and were polite and helpful throughout.

A friend visiting from down south was amazed by the cheerful, helpful staff – and blown away by the fact that an evening return to Manchester only costs £1.50 !

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FOWS in the news again

January 23, 2010

You may have seen the article in this weeks Salford Advertiser about the Sunday service victory.

We are very grateful to the Advertiser for their on-going coverage of our activities.

Just for the avoidance of any doubt we want to clarify that Sunday services don’t actually start until May 23rd and will then run for a trial period of 1 year.

It’s going to be very important that local people make good use of the service during the trial as this is the surest way to convince GMITA to make the arrangement permanent.

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Cheap fares to Southport for Children and Seniors

January 23, 2010

Northern Rail have some special offers running from now until the 6th March with discounted child and senior fares from Walkden to Southport.

Over 55’s can purchase off-peak returns for just £5 (compared to the usual Adult Return fare of £9.20) on Mondays to Fridays after 0930.

On Saturday’s it’s the turn of the kids with a £2 return fare valid all day (usual price £4.60).

Please note there are no trains on Sundays from Walkden until May – despite this offer being advertised for Saturday and Sunday travel !

Southport station is in the heart of the town’s shopping district and just a few minutes walk from the seashore, so why not get the train from your local station for a bracing day out at the seaside !

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Fares relief

January 18, 2010

Some good news for passengers this month as the annual fares increase has seen rises of exactly 0% – yes, that’s nothing – on fares to Manchester. In fact, the monthly pass has even dropped 40p to £78 … not that anyone’s going to be cracking open the champagne for that !

Still, it’s a bit of welcome relief for passengers after being hit with years of above-inflation rises.

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“Crumbs” of comfort

January 16, 2010

FOWS are delighted that local cafe Crumbs have joined with Cafe Chino to offer a special discount to users of Walkden station.

Crumbs is less than a minute’s walk from the station – just turn left from the exit. To claim you Rail User’s Discount please show a valid rail ticket or pass when ordering.

FOWS would like to thank Crumbs for joining this promotion.

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FOWS get scrubbing !

January 16, 2010

FOWS have been cleaning the stairway walls at the station to remove some of the dirt and stains that have accumulated over the last few months.

We hope you think it looks a bit better now.




The lower stairway before ...

The lower stairway before ...



... and after

... and after



The top of the stairs before ...

The top of the stairs before ...



... and after

... and after


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FOWS input to Network Rail’s “Manchester Hub” planning

January 13, 2010

Network Rail have been holding an open consultation exercise on long-term, ambitious plans for modernising the Manchester rail network, and in particular increasing capacity through the choked city centre area.

FOWS have submitted a report to Network Rail laying out our aspirations for the development of the railway line and services through Walkden, and you can download our report from the FOWS website.

The principal objectives we have asked that Network Rail try to deliver for Walkden are:
* Continued investment in substantial improvements to station infrastructure and environment, including staffing and passenger facilities
* Greatly improved station access for cyclists, bus passengers and motorists and a safer environment for pedestrian access
* Longer, more frequent trains operated by modern, ultimately electric, rolling stock

And in terms of the train services provided we have suggested Network Rail aim to provide:
* Weekday peak frequencies at least quarter hourly of which at least one should serve Piccadilly and Manchester Airport
* Off peak services every 20 minutes (including an hourly Piccadilly/Airport service)
* Half hourly services on Sundays and in the evenings – one to be an all stations service from Victoria and one Airport-Southport semi fast (or similar route serving Piccadilly and Oxford Road, for example from Buxton)

Of course we understand rail development is a complex, long-term, and expensive business, but by making our goals for Walkden station clear to Network Rail we hope to improve the station’s passengers chances of seeing benefits in the years ahead.

Why not let us know what you think our goals should be ? Just post a comment to this blog and tell us what improvements would be most important to you ?

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Go slow for snow

January 13, 2010

There is a temporary 30-mph speed restriction on the line between Walkden and Atherton (normal speed limit 50-mph) because snow lying on the tracks has made it impossible to inspect the track properly.