Archive for December, 2011

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Fare increases of 7% and more from Jan 2nd

December 31, 2011

The January increases to rail fares from Walkden can now be found on the National Rail Enquiries website Journey Planner – simply enter a date after 2nd January for your journey and press Check Fares.

Contrary to what you may have heard in the news about fares being limited to an average of 6%, commuters from Walkden yet again face fare increases that are way above the rate of inflation.

The main commuter fares from Walkden – the Peak Return and 7-Day Pass to Victoria – are going up to £5.90 and £23.20 respectively, that’s a rise of over 7% in each case.

Some other fares, particularly off-peak, are rising even more steeply: here’s a few of the most common fares from Walkden:

Peak Return to Mcr Off Peak Return to Mcr Peak Single to Mcr Off Peak Single to Mcr 1 Month Season Ticket
Old fare £5.50 £3.30 £3.50 £3.20 £82.60
New fare £5.90 £3.60 £3.80 £3.50 £89.10
increase 7.3% 9.1% 8.6% 9.4% 7.9%

If you have a long-term season ticket (3, 6 or 12 months) you may consider renewing today at Walkden, or tomorrow (at a manned station such as Bolton or Manchester Victoria) to beat the price rise which comes into effect on Monday.

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4 carriages on Sunday trains

December 19, 2011

Engineering work in progress to prepare Walkden for more 4-carriage trains

A thank-you to Northern Rail for putting on 4-carriage trains on all services yesterday, which hopefully helped more people get to and from Manchester in comfort. Great to see the extra length of platform being put to good use with the longer trains too !

Northern have now started taking possession of extra trains from around the country, which is why you might see some trains in other operators’ colours, or once they have been refurbished in shiny new Northern colours.

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Rail fare rises capped at 6%

December 3, 2011

As you may have seen in the news this week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the rail fare rises which come into force on Jan 1st  will be capped at 6% this year. Whilst that’s way above inflation the figure is actually rather better than it could have been – the Government’s plans to raise more funding through the farebox originally envisaged a monstrous 8% rise this year.

Passengers with expensive monthly or annual tickets are advised to consider renewing them at the end of this month to beat the price rise.

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Winter timetable up and running

December 3, 2011

The winter timetable started on Monday 12th and is effective through until 13th May next year. It’s available from the station or online here.

A quick look through suggests the times are simply reverting back to the pre-Autumn timetable schedule – but please check your own train before travelling !

One bit of bad news contained in the timetable is the return of the dreaded bus replacements on Sundays from 8 January to 12 February 😦

The timetable brochure has had a bit of a design makeover – the first in several years – and has a logo advertising “600 more seats every day at peak times on this route“. This probably needs a bit of small print to explain … not all of the seats will be on Walkden services as the timetable also includes trains from Bolton to Manchester.  Details of the trains receiving the extra seats were covered on our blog recently.

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Train Running Information panels installed

December 3, 2011

We are delighted the electronic information boards are now up and running, showing what time the next train is due in each direction, and which stations it calls at.

We’re sure this will be a great asset for regular and occasional users of the station alike, and would like to thank GMITA and Northern Rail for making this improvement.

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Over-crowding update

December 1, 2011

Over-crowding of trains has become a major issue for passengers at Walkden in recent months, so here’s a round up of the latest news from Northern on the subject:

  • Mondays to Friday: some relief in prospect here as from the start of the winter timetable next week the 0738 to Stalybridge via Victoria, and the 1710 from Victoria, will double in size from 2 carriages to 4 carriages each. A few other trains will also be scheduled for operation by slightly bigger types of trains (the 0658 and 0835 to Manchester, and 1610 and 1845 from town). This is great news, but there is a slight caveat to be mentioned … Northern’s record on actually providing the additional carriages on trains hasn’t been great on other routes around Manchester, and has drawn criticism from GMITA. Fingers crossed the extra carriages really do appear most days …
  • Saturdays: As usual at this time of year, weekend daytime services are exceptionally busy: the last few Saturdays have seen dozens of passengers unable to board trains Manchester-bound trains at Walkden during the mid-morning to mid-afternoon period. Unfortunately Northern say the demands on their fleet are almost as high on a Saturday as Monday to Friday, so they don’t have any spare carriages that could be used. Northern do say that an extra train and crew have been positioned at Victoria in the evenings for use as an additional service on whichever route is experiencing the heaviest over-loading.
  • Sundays: Again, Christmas shopping numbers are pushing services to breaking point. Unfortunately for us in Walkden, Northern have chosen to deploy their spare carriages on extra services to Rochdale so they’re unable to put extra carriages on the Atherton line this year. The trains are scheduled to be operated by the larger “class 156” trains with more seats, but it’s still a 2 carriage train and over-crowding must be anticipated.

What can you do ? Please do not take it out on the Northern staff … they are as fed up with the shortages as you are ! If you can, take a few minutes to write to your MP and councillor, to make sure the politicians understand the effect of under-resourcing the railways. If you want to send a complaint to Northern, make sure you explicitly say you are making a complaint – or else it may get filed as just a “comment” (!). Complaint figures get reviewed on a route-by-route basis, so by making sure our complaints are logged we can hopefully nudge Walkden up the list of priorities for if and when more carriages are found.