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.


One comment

  1. It’s not mid-morning to mid-afternoon on Saturdays. It’s mid-morning until evening. I squeezed (literally) onto the 5.48pm train on Saturday. Others didn’t even get that far.

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