Archive for July, 2011


FOWS reaction to Network Rail’s northern strategy

July 28, 2011

FOWS have been looking through the weighty tome that is Network Rail’s Northern Rail Utilisation Strategy – a public planning document that outlines their high-level objectives for the next 5-year control period.

As may be expected details on our minor line are few, but we have noted the following points which relate to Walkden services:

a) There is a firm recommendation to lengthen the 8.18 and 8.35 services from Walkden (the 8.00 and 8.13 from Wigan Wallgate) to four cars. Network Rail have assumed that the 8am service is already operating as four cars. There’s also a strategy “suggestion” later in the document that in addition to this, “several other peak services” will need to be three-car equivalents

b) It’s clear that there are no plans to electrify the Walkden line within the scope of the document. Indeed there is a specific reference to continued DMU usage. Happily there are no mention of tram-trains either.

c) The Airport to Scotland service are “expected” to be diverted via Chat Moss and Wigan once that line is electrified. As these trains no longer stop at Salford Crescent anyway, this would improve connectivity (changing at Wigan, rather than changing at Crescent and Bolton).

d) It is not immediately clear that electrification will improve connectivity at Salford Crescent, at least in the peak hours. The implication appears to be that any additional trains will run into Victoria. The strategy section goes so far as to suggest that a peak-hour train to Piccadilly could be removed and run into Victoria. This need not be a bad thing, as our quibbles are with timings rather than volume, but we will have to see.

e) The Liverpool to Leeds TPE services will run via Victoria and Chat Moss once the Ordsall Chord and improvements to the Stalybridge-Victoria line are completed. Good news for people commuting from Walkden to West Yorkshire !
Network Rail appear to believe all stations on the Atherton are already capable of holding 4-carriage trains. Of course this is not the case at Walkden where only the shorter class 142 “Pacer” trains can fit 4-carriages within the authorised length, and FOWS have fed back this correction to Network Rail. We will also be suggesting to Network Rail that when the platform is lengthened (as it will have to be) this would be a tremendous opportunity to raise the level of the new section to solve the problem of the dangerously high platform gap.

The PDF of the Strategy can be downloaded from Network Rail’s website


For the sake of sixteen miles! 30th anniversary event for Woodhead tunnel rail campaigners

July 12, 2011

On Saturday 16th July 2011, campaigners from both sides of the Pennines will symbolically commemorate the closure of the Manchester-Sheffield rail route with a series of events culminating on the moor above the Woodhead Tunnel’s very mid-point.

Exactly 30 years to the day since the last train ran campaigners will make their way on foot, by bike and car, demonstrating the extreme lengths people have to go to for the sake of sixteen miles of missing tracks. There will also be a toast made with ‘Tunnel Vision’, a brand new ale brewed especially to mark this anniversary.

For full details see the Save The Woodhead Tunnel blog.


Lorries and low bridge’s don’t mix

July 9, 2011

Thanks to a local resident who was collecting someone from the station on Tuesday afternoon, we have these pictures of a lorry scraping under the bridge outside the station.

The bridge is notorious for being hit by drivers who don’t seem to be aware of their vehicle’s height … nor spot the bridge or warning signs.

Our correspondent reported he feared for his life as the lorry screeched to a halt and then scraped its way under the bridge.




Walkden Music Festival – Saturday 16 July

July 9, 2011

Walkden’s Music Festival returns to Parr Fold Park next Saturday between noon and 7pm.

DJ’s Sam and Alex will be presenting acts including The Skints, Extra Love, Jeremiah Ferrari, and Clay Pigeon.

Admission is free.

For more details, and band links, see


No more cheques at Northern Rail

July 9, 2011

As you may have seen on posters on board trains and at stations, Northern Rail are no longer accepting cheques as payment for tickets – presumably due to the banks’ withdrawal of the cheque guarantee system.


YES to High Speed Rail

July 9, 2011

You may have seen the posters around town urging you to show your support for High Speed Rail – the purpose-built, ultra-fast link from London to Birmingham and then Manchester.

YES to High Speed Rail” have a website which answers lots of common questions and sets out the reasons why HS2 (as the line will be known) is so important to the regions it serves. In addition to offering faster journeys to Birmingham and London, it will free up much needed capacity on the conventional railway lines and deliver business benefits and employment opportunities to our region.

The campaign have an online letter to the government urging them to press ahead with the plans, and you can show your support by signing up at


Join the Bridgewater Canal 250th Anniversary Celebrations

July 5, 2011

Our friends at Patricoft and Eccles are heavily involved with Salford’s celebrations to mark the 250th aniversary of the historic Bridgewater Canal.

See for more details, and note in particular:

on Sat 16th July Queen Victoria’s trip by barge from Patricroft to Worsley is being re-enacted

on Sun 17th July FrOPS and Freccles are leading a circular walk from Eccles station via Monton, Worsley and Patricroft