Archive for February, 2011

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A Fond Farewell to Marion

February 28, 2011

Walkden station users bade a warm but sad farewell to much loved Ticket Office clerk Marion who retired today after 5 years service at the station.
During that time Marion’s bubbly personality, railway expertise, and dedication to exceptional customer service has won her many friends, admirers, and even some national awards.
In a typically generous and thoughtful gesture, station manager Pam Williams organised a “surprise” farewell party for Marion with a buffet and the chance for passengers to say their farewells.
For anyone who missed Marion today you have one more chance to say your personal farewell – we’re delighted that Marion will be at Wednesday evening’s FOWS AGM.
FOWS wish Marion a very long, happy and well-deserved retirement !

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AGM Agenda available now

February 26, 2011

The agenda for the FOWS annual general meeting can now be downloaded here.

The meeting is open to all members of the public and we hope lots of passengers will come along to hear our guest speaker Stephen Clark (Rail Director of GMPTE), bid a fond farewell to Marion who retires on Monday, and generally help participate in FOWS’ planning for the year ahead.

The meeting will start at 7.15pm on Wednesday (2nd March) at the Walkden Legion Club on Wilfred Road … we hope to see you there !

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Northern scores well in national passenger survey

February 24, 2011

Passenger Focus’ recently published national passenger satisfaction survey from August 2010 shows a good performance by Northern Rail with significantly improved scores on several fronts.

Overall Northern achieved 82% satisfaction – the same as in the last two surveys, and just 2% below the national average which, at 44%, was the highest recorded since the surveys began in 1999. In reality Northern’s score is almost bound to be lower than the national average because of the aged train fleet it has been allocated and the fact it serves some of the most socially deprived areas of the country.

Looking more closely at Northern’s results the company scored big improvements in trains’ exterior cleanliness (up 12%), how well delays are handled (8%), toilet facilities (6%), station cleanliness and car parking facilities (both up 5%). On the debit side the biggest falls were in punctuality/reliability, sufficient room for passengers, and ease of being able to get on and off – all down by 3%.
Initially surprising is the fact that satisfaction with value for money of ticket prices also increased 4% to 63%. However the survey was conducted before this January’s 5 to 10% rises were announced so presumably this score would be somewhat lower if the survey was repeated now.

It is perhaps worth noting that none of the 1027 Northern Rail passengers surveyed were interviewed at intermediate stations between Wigan and Victoria.

Finally – as a salutary reminder of the illusory nature of statistics – Britain’s highest rated train company, the Wrexham and Shropshire with an amazing 96% overall passenger satisfaction, sadly went out of business last month due to insufficient passenger numbers.

The full survey can be downloaded from the Passenger Focus website.

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AGM date approaches

February 16, 2011

This year’s FOWS Annual General Meeting will be held at 7.15pm on Weds 2nd March in the Walkden Legion Club on Wilfred Road – that’s just 2 weeks away !

As usual we hope lots of members of the travelling public will attend to have their say on what FOWS should be tackling in the year ahead.

In the last 12 months we’ve scored some pretty big successes – none more so than the re-introduction of Sunday services after a 40 year gap. We were told it’s nearly impossible to get new train services started in England – but we did it !

Thanks to our really supportive partners at Northern Rail, Salford City Council and British Transport Police we’ve also seen CCTV cameras installed, anti-pigeon nets installed, and several arrests for anti-social behaviour at the station. The lesson is clear … there are significant gains that a volunteer group can achieve, and the more public support we have the better our chances of achieving more.

In addition to FOWS matters we’re also delighted to welcome the Rail Programme Director of GMPTE Stephen Clark, plus representatives of Northern Rail and BTP.

So why not come along and help shape FOWS’ plans for next year ?

Entrance is free (of course) and the Legion has a well-stocked, affordable bar so you don’t have to go thirsty !

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Sunday travel gets back to normal

February 16, 2011

Good news for any Sunday travellers who have been frustrated by the bus replacement services which have dominated Calder Valley and Clitheroe trains on Sundays over the last few months: the engineering works are now completed and services return to rail-operation from this Sunday.

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Return of the Walkden plant miser

February 13, 2011

Dwarf conifer - before it was stolen this weekend


For all passengers who have enjoyed seeing the beautiful dwarf conifer in the planter at the east end of the platform, we are sorry to report the return of miserly plant thief or thieves who plagued the station last summer.

The conifer – a generous donation from Pam Williams at Northern Rail – was stolen this weekend. The neatly dug hole and lack of spilt soil is a clear sign the plant was deliberately taken rather than casually ripped out by a vandal.

British Transport Police have been informed.

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Little Hulton and Walkden Community Committee – Thank You !

February 3, 2011

FOWS wish to say a big, sincere, and public “Thank You !” to Salford City Council and the Community Committee for Little Hulton and Walkden.

The committee – who have previously assisted FOWS with grants for our station greening activities – have provided a substantial 4-figure grant towards the cost of the CCTV cameras which now keep watch over the station. The grant – a matching contribution in a project jointly funded by Northern Rail – is quite simply the difference between Walkden having CCTV cameras or not, and we would like to thank the committee members, community workers, and staff at Northern Rail who have all pulled together to make this long-awaited improvement possible.

Anyone who is familiar with the spate of almost daily vandalism and theft which plagued the station last summer will recognise instantly what a positive difference the cameras have made. They also contribute substantially to passengers’ feelings of safety and security while on the station, and this in turn feeds a virtuous circle of more people using the trains.

With the DfT funded station improvements for Walkden on indefinite hold the grant for the cameras is even more valuable – it’s anybody’s guess how long we would have had to wait for them otherwise.