Archive for December, 2010

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No trains next Mon/Tues due to strike

December 23, 2010

Please note because of the strike by the RMT union there will be NO TRAINS TO/FROM WALKDEN ON MONDAY 27th OR TUESDAY 28th DEC.

For the latest details please check Northern Rail’s website – at present it is saying there will be a skeleton service from Farnworth but no trains at all to/from Walkden.

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Bus replacement warning !

December 19, 2010

Just a reminder – the last train out from Victoria (the 23.20) is replaced by a bus each evening this week from Monday (20th Dec) until Thursday (23rd).

The usual warnings about the bus being slower, lacking toilets, cycle space etc apply.

Only the last Wigan-bound train of each evening is affected by bus replacement – all other services are due to run normally.

Bus substitutions are always a nuisance for Walkden travellers but next week, with office parties and Xmas get-togethers in full swing, we can expect demand for the last train to be greater than normal. No doubt some passengers who’ve been enjoying the festive spirit in the pubs are in for a rude surprise when they discover the last “train” is in fact a toilet-less bus.

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Severe over-crowding strikes off-peak services

December 18, 2010

As we predicted a few weeks ago, severe over-crowding is affecting services to and from Walkden even during traditional off-peak times.

Some – but not all – of the extra demand is Christmas related, but with Northern Rail apparently all out of carriages the worst times to watch out for are Saturday service toward Manchester from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

Friday evening’s 2010 from Victoria was also severely over-crowded and running late due to the difficulty the guard had closing the doors.

Some Manchester-bound Sunday services have also been completely full – an incredible situation for a service which didn’t exist a year ago and even now is only running on a trial basis.

Late evening trains from Manchester on Saturday evenings have suffered severe over-crowding in the past few weeks.

Northern Rail are believed to be placing some buses on standby to deal with over-crowding on services from Manchester. We applaud their initiative but have to comment on what a pitiful state of affairs for a railway to be so inadequately equipped to meet the level of demand for its services.

One final point if you are affected by over-crowding in the weeks ahead – please don’t take it out on the Northern staff at the stations and on the trains, many of whom are just as frustrated and angry about the situation as you.

If you want to do something about it, we suggest you send written complaints to Northern Rail and GMPTE (see our advice on how to make sure your complaint is heard), and even better your MP as it is only at the highest levels that the solution – the desperately needed new carriages – can be found.

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Christmas/New Year Trains

December 18, 2010

GMPTE’s website carries the following information about local train services over the Xmas & New Year period:

Thursday 23 December
Normal service.
Friday 24 December
Christmas Eve
Normal service with earlier finish, last journeys departing 1900 onwards.
Saturday 25 December
Christmas Day
No service.
Sunday 26 December
Boxing Day
No service

Monday 27 December and Tuesday 28 December

Normal service with a few early morning trains withdrawn on Monday 27 December.

NO TRAINS TO OR FROM WALKDEN ON MON/TUES DUE TO RMT STRIKE

Wednesday 29 December and Thursday 30 December
Normal service.
Friday 31 December
New Year’s Eve
Normal service with earlier finish, last journeys departing 1900 onwards.
Saturday 1 January 2011
Normal service with a few early morning
trains withdrawn.
Sunday 2 January 2011
Normal service.
Monday 3 January 2011
Normal service.
Tuesday 4 January 2011
Normal service.
NOTE: Service changes due to engineering work blockades on some routes during the period 27 December 2010 to 2 January 2011

The last train from Victoria to Walkden on Christmas Eve departs Manchester at 2010.

Check the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner for full details of exactly which trains are – or aren’t – running on each day.

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Bus replacement warning

December 18, 2010

The last train out from Victoria (the 23.20) is replaced by a bus each evening next week from Monday (20th Dec) until Thursday (23rd).

The usual warnings about the bus being slower, lacking toilets, cycle space etc apply.

Only the last Wigan-bound train of each evening is affected by bus replacement – all other services are due to run normally.

Bus substitutions are always a nuisance for Walkden travellers but next week, with office parties and Xmas get-togethers in full swing, we can expect demand for the last train to be greater than normal. No doubt some passengers who’ve been enjoying the festive spirit in the pubs are in for a rude surprise when they discover the last “train” is in fact a toilet-less bus.

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Santa spreads Xmas cheer

December 12, 2010

Many thanks to our friends at Northern Rail – especially the volunteer drivers and guards who donned Xmas outfit to staff the Santa Special to Southport today.

The weather was kind giving us a glorious sunny winter’s day, and the train was a great success with free gifts for children and refreshments for the grown-ups. The train was decorated with tinsel and Xmas decos, and a wonderful brass band played carols throughout the journey to Southport and back.

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Northern Rail Santa Special – tomorrow Sunday 12th Dec

December 11, 2010

Northern Rail are running a “Santa Special” service to Southport tomorrow, with Santa himself on board between Wigan and Southport with goody bags, refreshments and entertainment.

Although the special is advertised as starting at Wigan, the train is in fact a continuation of the 11.29 from Walkden to Wigan. Similarly on the way back the Santa Special is advertised as ending at Wigan but in fact the train continues on to form the 14.17 from Wigan arriving Walkden at 14.37. As a result it’s possible to ride the Santa Special direct from Walkden without needing to change trains at all.

Members of FOWS will be on board – perhaps we’ll see you there ?

Further details available from Northern Rail’s Santa Specials website.