Archive for October, 2010

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Invitation to FOWS meeting next Wednesday

October 29, 2010

FOWS meet every two months at the Walkden Legion Club in Wilfred Road just a few minutes walk from the station.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday (3rd November) at 7.15pm.

Our meetings are open to everyone with an interest in improving the station and services, so if you like to know more about our work and the latest news about the station, why  not come along ? New faces are always welcome !

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Signal waits at Salford Crescent explained

October 29, 2010

The wait for a green light at the signal outside Salford Crescent station is a familiar experience for travellers from Walkden to Manchester.

We had supposed the wait was something to do with crossing from the mechanical signalling of the Walkden line into the electronically controlled central Manchester area. However a Network Rail source informs us the wait is simply a feature of the timetable … track space through Salford Crescent is limited and sometimes even trains that are running on time have to wait for their gap.

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Network Rail – signalling modernisation at least a couple of years away

October 24, 2010

Network Rail have declined to elaborate on plans to modernise the signalling between Hindley and Salford after publishing a notice of intent to close the signal boxes at Walkden, Atherton and Crow Nest (Hindley).

Apparently there are no plans to start the project until late 2012 or possibly later, and consultations with staff have not yet been started.

FOWS have alerted  a number of railway heritage bodies to the proposed closure to help ensure the historic signal box at Walkden is not lost to posterity.

For anybody interested in the history of other signal boxes in the north west, we recommend the Line Clear website written by former Walkden signaller Harry Gardner.

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A look back 12 – and 24 – months …

October 24, 2010

The FOWS monthly Station Condition Report for October is now available from our website, and comparison with the report from October last year provides an encouraging reminder of how things have steadily improved in the last 12 months.
Back in Oct 2009 we had no CCTV or pigeon netting of course, and the report contained a depressingly familiar tale of graffiti around the premises, vandalised litter bins, a leaking roof over the stairs, pigeon mess on the platforms, and missing “Walkden” station signs.
Going back another year to October 2008 things were worse still with more vandalism, graffiti and problems with the roof.
Of course we know things could still be better, and we continue to look for way to improve the station, but there can be no doubt how the station has been improved in the last few years. A good time then to say “thanks” to Station Manager Pam Williams whose hard work has brought many of the benefits to Walkden.

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Walkden Signal Box slated for closure

October 16, 2010

Network Rail have revealed plans to close the signal box at Walkden, as well as those at Atherton and Crow Nest Junction near Hindley.

We are waiting to hear more details from Network Rail about their plans for the line and the schedule for closure. We presume the boxes’ closure means the line will be converted to modern colour-light signalling in place of the mechanical “semaphore” signals currently used.

The closure proposal can be read on Network Rail’s website.

Colour light signals will probably mean reduced operating costs for the line (reducing the number of signalling staff required), and is a positive sign of Network Rail’s commitment to the line’s future as a “heavy-rail” (i.e. not tram) route.

Walkden signal box is an historic building dating from the year of the line’s opening in 1888. Although it was clad in modern exterior materials in 2002 we believe that the original building is largely intact beneath and have initiated enquiries about safeguarding its long-term future.

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E-fit picture released of man wanted by BTP

October 16, 2010

British Transport Police have released an “e-fit” picture of a man wanted in connection with a sexual assault on a Wigan-bound train in September.

Please see the BTP Press Centre Website for the picture and details of the assault which took place on a Friday afternoon between Atherton and Daisy Hill.

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Manchester Is My Planet !

October 13, 2010

Taking the train is an environmentally friendly activity which helps keep carbon emissions down.

So Walkden train users might also be interested in the Manchester Is My Planet programme which is a joint initiative between various government and development agencies to champion all things good and green in the city.

Check out the Manchester Is My Planet website to find out more about their goals and for ideas about things we can all do to help tackle climate change.