Archive for November, 2012


2012 Passenger survey finds small drop in numbers

November 13, 2012

For the first time since FOWS started making passenger counts in November 2007, this year’s survey found a slightly drop in passengers using the station on a “typical” Thursday morning.

  • The total number of passengers using the station from the first train at 0622 through to 1330 fell 7% from 717 to 663.
  • Peak time travel has held up well (virtually unchanged from last year).
  • Off-peak numbers fell by 12.5%  (we believe this may be due to this year’s count taking place 2 weeks earlier than last year and therefore picking up less Christmas shopping traffic).

For full details of all our passenger counts from 2007 until the present, please see the Passenger Numbers page on our website.


Signal box closure confirmed for March next year

November 11, 2012

Walkden Signal Box aged 100 years in 1988 (picture by Harry Gardner)

As reported here a couple of years ago, Network Rail are currently converting the Walkden line to use modern colour-light signals controlled from Manchester Signalling Centre (at Salford Crescent).

This will mean the closure of the signal boxes at Walkden, Atherton, and Crow Nest: it is not known if the signalmen are being made redundant or being redeployed.

Modernisation will undoubtedly reduce operating costs, but many passengers will surely miss the nostalgic sight of the mechanical signals and lights that have guarded the line since it opened in 1888.

The signal box at Walkden is a historic rarity – a mechanical signal box that has stood and been used since the very first day the line it controls was opened. Over the last century literally thousands of similar signal boxes have been closed, rationalised, replaced or modernised – Walkden is a rare survivor !

For more history and pictures of the signal box, see this special page on the FOWS website.

FOWS would love to see the signal box preserved for posterity but it’s current location is not publicly accessible so re-location to a new home is the best for its survival after next spring.

If anyone is interested in preserving the box, please contact Network Rail to make further enquiries …. and good luck !


Ordsall Chord consultation

November 7, 2012

You may have heard that Network Rail are going to build a new link from Salford Central station directly to Deansgate, crossing a new viaduct over Castlefield. This will form part of the “Northern Hub” improvements to Manchester’s rail network and will allow more trains to run into the congested city centre area.
Among the benefits will be direct trains from Victoria to Piccadilly and the Airport, running via Salford Central, Deansgate and Oxford Road. It will also mean fast Transpennine trains running from Victoria to Leeds and beyond.
Network Rail are holding a series of public consultations in November for anyone interested in learning more about the scheme or meeting the project team:

  • Tuesday 20 November, 4pm – 8pm, Museum of Science & Industry
  • Wednesday 21 November,12pm-8pm, Museum of Science & Industry
  • Friday 23 November, 12pm – 8pm, Creative Media Centre, Salford
  • Saturday 24 November, 1pm – 5pm, Museum of Science & Industry
  • Monday 26 November, 4pm – 8pm, Salford Central Station
  • Tuesday 27 November, 10am – 5pm, Manchester Town Hall
  • Wednesday 28 November, 4pm – 8pm, Manchester Piccadilly Station

Stalybridge bay opens

November 7, 2012

Following last week’s closure of Stalybridge station services are now running again and the new, lengthened platforms have been built. The 0738 from Walkden is now arriving into a brand new bay platform next to the station buffet rather than crossing over the main lines to (old) platform 4. This has 2 advantages: trains can pull in to the station without having to wait for a gap between Transpennine expresses, and when you do arrive you are already on the right platform for continuing your journey east to Leeds (or indeed, 10 yards to the station buffet !)
And talking of the Stalybridge station buffet, anyone familiar with the West Riding Refreshment Rooms (aka the pub on Dewsbury station) will be delighted to know that the same owners are taking over at Stalybridge. The buffet at Stalybridge is justly famous for its marvellous historic decoration and atmosphere, but in our experience the service, food, and range of beers is even better at Dewsbury, so we look forward to great things at Stalybridge !


Walkden “in bloom” again !

November 5, 2012

Friends of Walkden Station have installed a new set of planters on the recently extended platform, thanks to an “In Bloom” grant from Salford City Council.
The four new stainless steel planters have been evenly spaced between the lamp-posts at the eastern end of the island platform.
In the same style as the planters installed in 2008, the new arrivals have been filled with bamboos and hebes.
In addition to the new planters, FOWS volunteers also weeded the flower beds and planted some annuals to bring a dash of colour to the station over winter.
FOWS want to thank the following local organisations for the generous support and assistance which made the project possible:


Patricroft Friends’ AGM

November 5, 2012

Our friends at Patricroft Station will be holding their Annual General Meeting this Thursday (8th November) at 7pm in Eccles Fire Station Community Room, Liverpool Road, Patricroft (M30 0RZ).
It’s a great chance to hear about the improvements made by “FroPS” over the last year, and there will also be a talk by Network Rail’s Marketing Manager – West about Fares and Ticketing.
The meeting is open to the public.


Salford Mayor visits Walkden Station

November 1, 2012

Salford’s new Mayor Ian Stewart (left) tours the station with FOWS Chairman Andy Barlow

FOWS welcomed the recently elected Mayor of Salford Ian Stewart to the station yesterday as part of a fact-finding visit to Walkden.
The Mayor met with several community groups at the Gateway Centre before travelling to the station with FOWS Chair Andy Barlow. At the station the party was joined by FOWS member Preva Crossley for a tour of the platforms, pointing out the various enhancements that have been made by FOWS or as a result ofour working together with Northern Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester.
The Mayor took so much interest in FOWS’ work that he had to be practically dragged away from the station by his team !
We hope the Mayor took away an impression of a “can-do” group that has made a positive difference to a valuable local amenity, and will lead to further collaboraions on station improvements with the city council.