Archive for March, 2012

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“Bienvenue” Delice De France

March 31, 2012

Delice De France is the latest outlet to open in Victoria Station, continuing a mini-renaissance that has seen the Spar shop, new toilets and waiting facilities added in the last year.

Delice De France opened on the concourse yesterday, next to the friendly Java Cafe booth.

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Local rail improvement schemes get moving

March 31, 2012

Work has started on a couple of rail engineering schemes around Manchester to improve services and timimgs.

Over at Stalybridge the old bay platform (where the 0738 from Walkden arrived) has now been closed and workmen are digging out a new bay platform on the other side of the station (next to the Station Buffet Bar, for those of you who know that wonderful institution). This will allow trains from Victoria to pull into and and out Stalybridge without waiting to cross the busy Transpennine express main lines.

As more through trains from Walkden to Stalybridge are being considered for the December 2012 timetable, this could have a significant benefit to travellers from Walkden: a direct connection onto the Transpennine express services to Leeds, York, Newcastle, Hull etc, instead of having to cross between Victoria and Piccadilly in town.

For fans of the aforementioned Station Buffet Bar it’s an even better prospect … to be able to return from enjoying a few drinks at Stalybridge station on a direct service to Walkden (currently the connections at Victoria are dire).

A little bit further afield trees are being cleared to allow the “Todmorden Curve” to be re-instated. This short section of track east of Todmorden station was closed many years ago cutting off direct services from Burnley to Manchester. It’s not confirmed when the curve will re-open to passenger services, but it’s good to see work  taking place to prepare the way !

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Café Relish Joins FOWS Rail Discount Scheme

March 31, 2012

We are delighted to announce that Café Relish is the latest addition to our station users’ discount scheme, joining our friends at Cafe Chino and Crumbs.

Mehran and the team are offering a 10% discount on their regular menu’s food and drink prices (excluding already discounted specials).

To enjoy a snack at the discount price, simply show a valid rail ticket for the current date and ask for the Rail Users’ Discount.

Save money and support our local cafes and shops !

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Platform lengthening is complete

March 25, 2012

The extended platform at Walkden, looking east to the new section (beyond the planters)

The platform lengthening work at Walkden is now complete with a bright, broad expanse of red-brick surface stretching away toward the signal box. The platform is now long enough to comfortable accommodate 4-carriage trains, and the surface level is very slightly higher than the older section, making boarding and alighting a little bit easier on the new section.

It’s rumoured that when the work at Swinton station is complete the engineers will be back to relay the oldest section of platform (beyond the canopy, where the FOWS planters are) with red-brick.

Meanwhile FOWS are preparing a bid for some new planters to add a bit of visual interest to the enlarged platform space.

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New shelters opened at Victoria

March 24, 2012

New passenger shelters have been opened on platforms 3, 4, 5, and 6 at Victoria providing some welcome relief from the winds and lack of seating that bedevil the station. Perhaps more actual seats than “lean-to” bum rests would have been nice, but there’s no doubt it’s still a good improvement.

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Last-train bus substitutions next week

March 24, 2012

The last train out from Victoria (the 23.20) is replaced by a bus each evening next week from Monday (26th March) until Thursday (29th March).

The usual warnings about the bus being slower, lacking toilets, and not being able to carry bicycles, non-folding prams, wheelchairs  etc apply.

Only the last Wigan-bound train of each evening is affected by bus replacement – all other services are due to run normally.

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Budget boost for NW Rail Investment

March 24, 2012

Wednesday’s budget contained some unexpected good news for the rail network in the north west as the Chancellor announced an extra £130 million will be invested on routes around Manchester.
Mr Osborne’s said: “I confirm today that Network Rail will extend the Northern Hub, adding to the electrification of the Transpennine rail route, by upgrading the Hope Valley line between Manchester and Sheffield – and improving the Manchester to Preston and Blackpool, and Manchester to Bradford lines.”