Archive for February, 2012

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Saturday night stars

February 26, 2012

Thanks due to Northern Rail for putting 4 carriages on the 23.20 from Victoria last night when it became clear there were far too many passengers for a 2-coach train. It meant a slight delay in departure as a unit had to be brought from another platform, but saved what could otherwise have become an ugly scene.

So far as we know Northern Rail aren’t under any obligation to put extra coaches on night services and they have precious little chance of selling many tickets at that time – so well done to the controllers and staff at Victoria for doing “the right thing” and getting everybody home ūüôā

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What a relief – smart new toilets at Vic !

February 25, 2012

Hats off to Northern Rail for the excellent new toilet facilities recently opened at Victoria. The Gents are a huge improvement on the dingy old former sleaze pits, and I’m reliably told the Ladies incorporate some fine old green and yellow Victorian tiles into the modern walls.

After years of sad decline it’s another significant step on the grand old station’s road to recovery !

As previously reported there’s also on-going work to improve lighting and waiting areas on the platforms, with a major renovation including new roof planned for the next couple of years.

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AGM Agenda online now

February 25, 2012

It’s just over a week until our Annual General Meeting now and we’re all looking forward to hearing guest speaker “The Railway Doctor”¬†Prof. Paul Salveson, a Question & Answer session with managers from Northern Rail and British Transport Police officers … and hoping to meet lots of new faces belonging to people who simply want to help make Walkden station better for passengers and local community !

The agenda for the meeting is now available and can be downloaded as a PDF here.

The AGM takes place in the Legion Club on Wilfred Road, starting at 7.15pm on Weds 7th March. All are welcome !

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Rail Infrastructure Update for Walkden and local stations

February 4, 2012

TfGM’s Capital Projects and Policy Committee’s latest Rail Infrastructure Report includes some interesting stories for passengers travelling around our area, including these selected highlights:

  • Walkden: Is currently ranked 4th in TfGM’s priority list for providing disabled access. A plan to provide step-free access has been costed at ¬£900,000 but unfortunately funding has not been secured and no date has been set for the work.
  • Wigan Wallgate: a ¬£0.5m scheme to upgrade the station this spring/summer will provide¬†improvements to the booking hall including a new ceiling; dual height¬†ticket counters; information boards; reconfigured queuing area; and¬†barriers. There will be a new roller shutter to the stairs. At platform level¬†the scope includes toilet refurbishment; enhanced waiting facilities;¬†additional CIS; improved signage; and the introduction of additional¬†seating to platforms. External to the station, cobbles within the pick-up¬†drop off area will be reset and signage attached to the canopy supports¬†rationalised.
  • Manchester Victoria: ¬†work is already in progress to provide¬†upgraded waiting¬†facilities, enhanced lighting on Platforms 3-6, help points, CCTV¬†cameras, cycle parking hoops, and refurbishment of the existing toilets (the new ones opened at last this week – hurrah !)
  • Manchester Victoria:¬† looking further ahead (2014) Victoria will benefit from a multi-million pound scheme to renovate the decaying roof. English Heritage are involved in the project design so it is to be hoped the station’s lovely architectural features (the tiled network map, 3 war memorials, iron canopy, etc) will be preserved.
  • Salford Central: The basic platform facilities and high-stepping distance are recognised and should be fixed by plans to enhance the platforms and canopies. Provided funding can be found this project will be delivered by 2015.
  • ¬†Salford Crescent: Network Rail are currently in the design and consultation phase of a project to enhance the passenger facilities ¬†with the main features being:
    1. platform lengthening works to accommodate six car trains;
    2. de-clutter and the provision of a canopy the full length of the island platform to protect waiting passengers from the elements;
    3. a new ticket office adjacent to Windsor Bridge by the A6;
    4. a bridge from the ticket office on the A6 to steps and a lift to platform level enabling removal of the existing stepped ramp.
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Ticket Vending Machine installed

February 4, 2012

The steady improvement of facilities an Walkden continues as an automatic Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) has been installed in the booking hall.

To reduce the risk of theft or damage, it only accept cards so you’ll still need to use the Booking Office to pay with cash.

Hopefully the machine will ease some of the queues seen at the Booking Office window. We’ve been assured by Northern Rail that it’s not a precursor to closing the actual Booking Office.

The machine can be used to buy ticket on the spot, or collect pre-booked internet ticket.

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Bus replacements on FIRST and LAST trains next week

February 4, 2012

Please note that there is an extra element of disruption to the engineering work planned by Network Rail next week: the last trains to Wigan and Manchester are replaced by buses Mon-Thu as happens every few weeks, but unusually the first train of the day to Manchester (the 0624) is also replaced by a bus next Tuesday to Friday. The replacement bus leaves Walkden considerably earlier (0609) because it takes longer than the train to reach Manchester.

It is likely the second train of the day – the 0654 – will be busier than usual as a result of displaced passengers from the eal

For details of the bus times, see the special notice on Northern Rail’s website.

The usual warnings about bus replacements apply: journeys are slower, the buses have no toilets, and will not carry bicycles, non-folding prams, wheelchairs  etc.

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“The Railway Doctor” to speak at AGM

February 4, 2012

We are delighted to announce that Prof. Paul Salveson MBE, a hugely respected authority on community involvement in the improvement of railways, will be Guest Speaker at FOWS Annual General Meeting on 7th March.

Prof. Salveson has a wealth of experience having grown up in the Bolton area, worked for British Rail as guard, signalman, and manager, before founding the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and heading community strategy at Northern Rail and Grand Central Railways. Today Paul operates a railway consultancy business under the name “The Railway Doctor“, amidst various other charitable, political, and academic pursuits. He’s sure to be a fascinating guest speaker !