Archive for the ‘Arriva’ Category


Walkden station artworks … a sneak preview

April 1, 2017

We are delighted to offer a sneak preview of a couple of the draft designs that artist Mark Mennell has produced for FoWS.

The designs form part of a series of 8 steel panels that will be attached to the walls of the stairway at the station.

We think the designs, produced by Mark in collaboration with Art & Design students at Salford City College are gorgeous and can’t wait to see them installed – hopefully in the not too distant future.

The Walkden station art project has been made possible with generous financial assistance from Salford City Council‘s Community Committee and Recycle/Reward programmes, and Arriva Rail North‘s Community Rail programme.




AGM Agenda published

April 19, 2016

The agenda for our forthcoming AGM on 10th May is now available for download.

We’re delighted to welcome special guests from Northern, Transport for Greater Manchester, Salford’s Neighbourhood team, and Worsley Civic Trust. There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

In addition to learning about Arriva Rail North’s plans for improving the trains and services, we are also pleased to welcome the artist Mark Mennell who has recently worked with Friends of Patricroft Station to install some beautiful panels illustrating the area’s local history. Mark will help us come up with ideas for bringing some tailor-made art to Walkden station too.

All our meetings including the AGM are open to the public, and we welcome everyone with an interest in helping us improve the station.


Arriva Rail North to speak at FoWS AGM

April 5, 2016

We are delighted to announce that Karen Booth, Director of Communities and Sustainability and Prof. Paul Salveson, Community Rail Group Advisor, will be our Guests of Honour at this year’s AGM. Karen will give an update on Arriva’s plans for trains and services in our area.

The AGM will be held in the Walkden Legion Club on Tuesday May 10th at 7.30pm, and is open to the public as well as FoWS members.

If you are a Walkden station user or just interested in the development of the station, why not come along and find out more about the exciting improvements ahead !


Farewell Northern Rail … Hello Northern

April 3, 2016

Northern Rail

After 12 years of operating our local train services Northern Rail passed into history on Friday. Despite being contracted to maintain a “standstill” (no growth) service by the government Northern actually presided over an unprecedented growth in rail travel and proved inventive at turning new tricks from exhausted trains and budgets.

At Walkden some of the good things we will remember Northern Rail for include:

  • re-introduction of Sunday services for the first time since the 1970’s
  • lengthening the platform to accommodate longer trains
  • installing CCTV to improve safety and massively reduce anti-social behaviour at the station
  • installing electronic passenger information displays
  • netting the station canopy and bridges outside to solve the problem of pigeon mess

Northern Rail gave generous financial and support to FoWS and we remember station managers Pam Williams and Chris Ingham with particular fondness.

Northern Rail’s legacy is slightly tarnished by the slow response to the damaged roof that has caused so much water ingress and decay, and this is one area we will be looking for Arriva to quickly remedy.

ARNlogoArriva Rail North, operating under the brand name “Northern”, will now operate the franchise covering most local trains in the north of England until 2025.

As previously reported Arriva made some very significant commitments to improve stations and trains during their tenure, and have already started to place orders for new trains.

There will be an opportunity to meet Arriva Rail North staff and hear more about their plans for our area at the FoWS AGM in May (watch this blog for confirmation of the date and venue).


AGM postponed

March 12, 2016

Please note that our Annual General Meeting, which was scheduled for this Tuesday 15th March, has been postponed until May (date to be confirmed).

This is to allow a Community Rail representative from the new franchise operators Arriva Rail North to attend and give us an update on their plans for Walkden and community involvement generally.

The re-arranged date will be published on this blog as soon as it has been confirmed.


Arriva Rail North places order for 281 carriages

January 24, 2016

The incoming Northern franchise operators have placed an order for 281 new carriages to start arriving on the Northern network in 2018. The trains 100-mph trains will be built by Spanish company CAF and include air-conditioning, wi-fi, power sockets, CCTV etc.

As high-speed trains they’re unlikely to be seen on Walkden services but their arrival on the region’s inter-city routes will allow better trains to be “cascaded” down to local services.


Timeline of franchise improvements

December 17, 2015

There’s a handy “timeline” graphic of the service improvements that the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchisees have undertaken to deliver – click here to see it


New Northern Rail franchise operator announced

December 11, 2015

The government have announced that the winner of the bidding process to operate our train services for the next 9 years will be Arriva Trains.

Arriva are owned by Deutsche Bahn – the German state railway – and come with a good reputation from their running of other franchises such as Arriva Trains Wales, Cross Country and the London Overground.

More importantly for us in Walkden, Arriva’s bid has met and over-reached the franchise’s minimum specification and Arriva have contracted to deliver some really exciting improvements to the network – and not least on the Walkden line !

Taken directly from the DfT website, here are the specific improvements promised for the Manchester to Wigan routes:

Passengers to/from Wigan will benefit from 7 trains per hour to/from central Manchester for much of the day, consisting of:

  • 4 trains per hour via Atherton (up from 2 off-peak and 3-4 in the peak)
  • 2 trains per hour via Bolton (to be served by electric trains once the route is electrified)
  • 1 fast Northern Connect service train per hour to/from Manchester Oxford Road, Piccadilly and the Airport (replacing the TransPennine Express service which currently operates on this route, but which will revert to operating via Bolton from December 2017)


Four trains per hour to/from central Manchester, comprising:

  • 2 trains per hour via Atherton (currently 1)
  • 1 train per hour via Bolton (as now)
  • 1 train per hour fast to Manchester Airport (as now, but Northern rather than TransPennine Express)

That’s a doubling of frequencies to/from Walkden during the week (up to 4 trains per hour in the peak) and on Sundays (2 trains per hour).

Across the region, the headline improvements to services include:

  • more than 2,000 extra services each week, with around 400 additional Sunday services, including new direct journeys from Bradford to Wakefield, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and Hull; from Leeds to Chester and Bridlington; from Lincoln to Leeds; and from Manchester Airport to Warrington, Bradford and Halifax
  • nearly a 40% increase in capacity – creating space for 31,000 extra passengers travelling into the 5 major commuter cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle) of the north during the morning rush-hour
  • a new high-quality ‘Northern Connect’ service, meaning new or refurbished trains on longer-distance services, faster journeys and stations staffed daily with catering services and free Wi-Fi at each one – as well as serving the 5 major commuter cities, this network will also serve other destinations including Bradford, Halifax, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Lincoln, Worksop and Retford
  • improved ticketing, including mobile and print-at-home tickets, and discounted fares for jobseekers

(source: DfT Press Release)

Improvements to the train fleet includes:

Arriva will make a substantial investment in new and refurbished trains, which will see the introduction of 281 new carriages and the full refurbishment of the remaining fleet. We are the first operator to guarantee that all Pacer trains will be removed within three years, while by 2019 all passengers will be able to access free on-board WiFi

(source: ArriveRailNorth website)

And stations will benefit too:

Customers have told us that they want to see more customer-facing people at Arriva Rail North. So we have committed to staffing 45 stations across the network which are currently unstaffed.

We will introduce new facilities at 243 stations that will make it simpler to buy tickets and access information. Seating and waiting areas will be refurbished at 355 locations, and we will upgrade CCTV security, introduce video help points and install new customer information screens as part of our extensive station upgrade plans.

(source: ArriveRailNorth website)

While reading this list of frankly amazing commitments to improvement, it’s worth remembering these are written into the legal contract between the Government and Arriva – in other words they will not be easy for Arriva to fail to deliver.

Northern Rail – operated by Serco Abelio – worked wonders on a “stand-still” brief but the new franchise promises to be a completely different ball game. Friends of Walkden Station are very excited about the changes ahead and look forward to our first meeting with Arriva’s Community Team later this month.