Archive for November, 2011


Christmas shopping boost ?

November 26, 2011

Some of you may be wondering if the addition of extra carriages to selected trains on Sundays during December will be happening again this year. Northern Rail put extra carriages on about half the Sunday trains last year and it greatly helped to ease the rush of Christmas shoppers into and out of Manchester.
We have asked Northern if there are plans to do the same this year but, as yet, we have not had a reply.
We’ll let you know when we hear something.


Passenger count confirms another 20% rise in passengers

November 24, 2011

This morning’s annual passenger count by FOWS volunteers confirmed what regular passengers have already known – the trains at Walkden are getting busier and busier.

What may come as a surprise is to find out quite how much the numbers have grown year-on-year in FOWS surveys: from a total 431 passengers boarding or alighting trains at Walkden on a typical November Thursday morning (from 0600 to 1310), the number has rocketed 66% to 717 in just 4 years.

This year alone – against the backdrop of a prolonged economic slump – the total jumped a massive 20%.

Total Passengers counted in FOWS Surveys

The graph shows the continuing upward trend since FOWS surveys began.

Other interesting points from today’s survey include:

  • to Northern Rail’s credit a non-stop train from Atherton was requested to make an additional stop at Walkden – this unadvertised service picked up no less than 75 passengers !
  • despite the additional service (which had 4 carriages), 5 other Manchester bound trains were full and had standing room only.
  • the number of people travelling from Walkden increased by 60, but surprisingly the number of people travelling to Walkden (usually much lower in the morning) increased by 72

The downside to this spectacular success is over-crowding which is becoming a more and more frequent problem. Although our surveys only cover weekday mornings, we know from personal experience that even “off-peak” times like Saturdays and Sundays are seeing more overcrowded trains and, sadly, more would-be passengers left behind at the station.