Archive for September, 2011

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Ooh … even more cameras !

September 18, 2011

Some of the new CCTV cameras at Walkden station

What a nice surprise to spot even more new cameras on the outside of the canopy at the Manchester end of the platform !

Well done Northern for fitting providing the station with such comprehensive CCTV coverage 🙂

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Coming soon … capacity boost for Walkden peak trains

September 17, 2011

Buried in the detail of a Transport for Greater Manchester committee meeting minutes from last week is some very good news for peak-time passengers to/from Walkden.

From December (this year) Northern receives an injection of new trains (actually they’re very old trains – but new to Northern) and TfGM has decided that the Walkden line should be one of the key routes around Manchester to benefit from the additional capacity.

According to the committee’s plans, the following peak hour services will have extra seats and standing capacity from December:

Morning

  • 0658 to Manchester: changing from a 2-car class 142 “Pacer” to a (slightly larger) 2-car class 150 “sprinter” – providing 26 extra seats and 63 more spaces in total
  • 0738 to Stalybridge via Manchester: changing from a Sprinter to a Pacer plus a Sprinter – 111 extra seats and 137 more spaces in total
  • 0835 to Manchester: changing from a Pacer to a Sprinter – 26 extra seats and 63 more spaces in total

Evening

  • 1610 from Victoria: changing from a Pacer to a Sprinter – 26 extra seats and 63 more spaces in total
  • 1710 from Victoria: changing from a Pacer to two Pacers – 111 extra seats and 137 more spaces in total
  • 1845 from Victoria: changing from a Pacer to a Sprinter – 26 extra seats and 63 more spaces in total
Class 142 "Pacer" at Hag Fold

Class 142 "Pacer" at Hag Fold

In addition, for people travelling on to destinations like the Calder Valley, Liverpool and Bolton, other routes in the area will also benefit from extra carriages on some of their busiest services.

This is great news for long-suffering commuters on some of our most over-crowded services, and TfGM deserve much credit for the dogged defence they have mounted against the DfT’s attempts to reduce the influx of extra carriages.

The TfGM report also notes that even more carriages should become available for commuter routes around Manchester over the next few years as electrification of the lines to Bolton, Liverpool (via Eccles), and Leeds frees up diesel trains.

Class 150 "Sprinter" at Walkden

Class 150 "Sprinter" at Walkden

We understand the scheduling of more 4-carriage trains to call at Walkden will require increasing the operational length of the platform at Walkden, but do not know when this work will be performed.

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Safety boost as extra CCTV cameras installed

September 15, 2011

 FOWS have welcomed Northern Rail’s recent improvements to passenger security at Walkden as the number of CCTV cameras operating at the station has more than doubled.

The first cameras at Walkden, a temporary system, was installed in summer 2010 thanks to a link-up between FOWS, Northern Rail and Salford City Council, and led to a dramatic reduction in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour. Now we’re delighted that Northern Rail have taken the solution a step further with an extra 4 cameras covering previously exposed areas, and allowing clear views of everyone entering or exiting the station.

Meanwhile work on installing Customer Information Screens is understood to be progressing, with the screens expected to be fitted in the next few weeks.

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“Eye-watering fares” – even the Transport Secretary admits Britain’s railways are expensive

September 15, 2011

In a remarkably candid answer to a House of Commons committee, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond this week described the railway system as a “rich man’s toy”. The Secretary was being questioned about the likely cost of fares on HS2 (the high speed line to be built from London to Birmingham and Manchester) when he said “the railway is already relatively a rich man’s toy”.

He went on to add that he expected HS2 fares to be similar to those on Virgin’s West Coast service between Manchester and London – fares which he described as ranging “from eye-wateringly expensive to really quite reasonable”.

Is it too much to hope this outbreak of plain speaking will lead to reconsidering the government’s plan to let fares rise by 8% in January ? Unfortunately it probably is, as the Secretary has given no hint of trying to reduce the inflation-busting hike.

It’s certainly refreshing to learn the Secretary understands how prohibitively expensive train travel has become, but millions of people who rely on the train (or choose to use it for environmental reasons) will be sorry the Government has no plans to reduce them or even slow the rate of increase.