Archive for October, 2011


Justine Greening named Transport Secretary

October 15, 2011

In the fallout from Liam Fox’s resignation from as Minister for Defence, the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has moved to Defence and been replaced by Justine Greening, MP for Putney in London.

Thus the revolving door that is the Transport Secretary job spins yet again, triggering more uncertainty in this critical infrastructure role which is crying out for long-term stability and commitment.


Disruption ahead as Network Rail replace tracks around Wigan

October 15, 2011

Watch out for bus replacements and re-timed trains for 9 days from next Saturday 22nd, as Network Rail carry out £3.8m worth of engineering works in the Wigan area.

For Walkden passengers. the main impacts are:

  • On Sat 22nd, Sun 23rd, Sat 29th and Sun 30th, ALL TRAINS REPLACED BY BUSES (note buses are slower than the trains, have no toilets, and cannot carry wheelchairs, bicycles, or non-folding prams)
  • Mon 24th to Fri 28th, Trains toward Wigan are terminated at Hindley, from where bus replacements continue to Wigan and Southport.
For full details, see the National Rail website or download Northern Rail’s replacement timetable.
And finally, we suggest you allow longer for your journey as experience shows that new timetables (even if only temporary) take a while to settle in and therefore more delays than usual would not be a surprise.

Northern Hub – a free seminar

October 8, 2011

For anyone interested in learning more about Network Rail’s plans for the extensive make-over of central Manchester’s rail network, there’s a free seminar at Manchester University on Wednesday December 7th at 17.30 in Room A101, First floor, Samuel Alexander Building, Lime Grove, off Oxford Street, Manchester University. M13 9PL.

The Speaker is Duncan Law, Scheme Sponsor, Northern Hub, Network Rail.

This presentation will outline the latest developments in the proposals to increase through rail capacity across central Manchester and upgrade the lines to both east and west, providing more capacity for trains linking up all the major cities of the North.

Booking is not required for this event. For full details please see here.


Ladies beware … portaloos at Victoria

October 8, 2011

A quick note to warn that the Ladies Toilet at Victoria has been closed for some form of renovation/repair and a couple of portaloos have been positioned outside the domed cafe instead.

I’ve not had the pleasure of a visit but I’m guessing they’ll be less comfortable than the permanent facilities and, given the numbers of revellers passing through the station most nights of the week, there’s going to be a fair chance of finding them blocked, engaged, or filthy 😦


Platform lengthening under way

October 8, 2011

As you may have seen work has started this week on the disused section of platform beyond the wooden fence at the east end of Walkden station. In fact I should say the former wooden fence as it’s already been removed, along with the vegetation that has colonised the platform over the last few decades.

We understand the work is in preparation for the longer (4 carriage) trains that will start to use the station on a more regular basis from December (see previous blog entry for more details).

On the subject of the longer trains, we have now been told by Northern that fewer services are going to benefit. The latest plan shows just the following trains to be lengthened:

  • 0715 Wigan W – Stalybridge (0738 from Walkden)
  • 1600 Southport-Huddersfield (1650 from Walkden)
  • 1710 Man Vic – Kirkby (1731 from Walkden)

Naturally we are hoping that more services will benefit as originally planned by TfGM, and we are seeking confirmation from Northern Rail.



“Standing Up For Investment In Greater Manchester” – the state of local trains raised at Tory party conference

October 8, 2011

The poor quality of trains and services in Manchester were highlighted by Walkden South councillor Iain Lindley in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference this week.

Contrasting the plight of Mancunian rail users with the newer trains and more frequent services provided in the south, Cllr Lindley said:

Conference, have you ever been in London and complained about waiting five minutes for your tube train? If my train to work in Cheshire is cancelled, I have to wait a whole hour. There are residents and commuters on my local station who wait half an hour only to find a train so full they cannot get on it”

The full text of Cllr Lindley’s short address can be read on his website here.

Walkden’s train passengers will be fervently hoping the message was heard by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

NB: FOWS is a strictly non-party political group (impartiality is enshrined in our constitution), and we are happy to work with, and acknowledge good deeds by, politicians of all parties.



“Leaf-fall” timetable started this week

October 8, 2011

This week saw the introduction of the Autumn “leaf-fall” timetable: a modified schedule running from October until December 10th and allowing slightly longer train times to compensate for trains running slower on sections of track that are covered by slippery, wet, fallen leaves.

For travellers from Walkden the main impacts are:

          • many, but not all, trains to Manchester are re-timed to leave Walkden 2 minutes earlier (eg the 10.20 now leaves at 10.18)
          • most trains to Wigan leave Walkden at the same time as before but arrive at their final destination (Wigan, Kirby etc) 2 minutes later
Please take care to check your train’s departure time at National Rail website, or download the new timetable here.