Archive for the ‘GMPTE’ Category


Steep rises in evening ticket prices ahead

August 16, 2014

Northern Rail have responded to Government pressure to increase revenue by raising fares for afternoon/evening journeys.

From September 8th passengers will need to buy more expensive “Anytime” tickets to travel in Greater Manchester between 16.01 and 18.29. The restrictions apply to all travel – not just the direction of peak flow – and also extend beyond the Greater Manchester boundary to a confusing selection of other routes.

At Walkden we are perhaps fortunate that the popular 18.30 service into Manchester leaves just one minute after the new “peak” time so still remains eligible for off-peak tickets.

However, if you make an evening trip into Manchester from Walkden on the 16.29, 16.49, 17.29 or 17.52 services you will need to buy a £6.80 Anytime Return after Sept. 8th, a 76% increase over the £3.90 Off Peak return.

For passengers returning to Walkden after a day in Manchester, the 16.14, 16.46, 17.17, 17.47, and 18.14 departures from Victoria will all be unusable unless you buy an Anytime ticket.

To add to travellers’ misery, the popular Cheap Evening Return tickets will also scrapped doubling the evening return fare from Walkden to Manchester from £1.95 to £3.90 – so much for the government wanting to encourage people off the roads !

The move is bound to be deeply unpopular with passengers who have faced above-inflation fare increases for many years, and has drawn criticism from consumer protection groups like Passenger Focus and Travel Watch NorthWest.

As well as hitting people’s wallets the changes seems sure to introduce more yet confusion and difficulty for Northern’s front-line staff who will have the unenviable job of enforcing the increases.

The question should also be asked whether the move will even achieve its objective as on many routes (Walkden to Manchester included) bus services are available that will offer a more frequent and – after these price rises – cheaper alternative .


New Cheap & Frequent Bus Link to Salford Quays

August 2, 2011

A new bus link service has been started between Salford Crescent station and Salford Quays, providing an attractive alternative to the longer and more expensive bus/tram options currently available for reaching the Quays.

The number 9 “Salford Quays Link” bus service connects Salford Crescent rail station to Salford Shopping City, Salford Quays and MediaCityUK.

During, the week daytime buses depart every 10 minutes, reducing to every 15 minutes at evenings and weekends.

The service, run by Maytree Travel, has been funded by TFGM, Salford City Council and the University of Salford.

Tickets are very reasonably priced at £1 for a adult flat fare, a £1.60 day ticket and £6 7-day pass.

Full details available from the timetable leaflet .


Transport for Greater Manchester – the new name for GMPTE

April 29, 2011

As of this month the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has a new name – Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) – and takes on some additional responsibilities.

TfGM retains GMPTE’s control over bus and rail subsidy and service planning, ownership of the Metrolink, but takes on strategic transport planning to include the road network too. We understand one of the objectives is to make the organisation into more of a co-ordinated transport planning hub along the lines of London’s generally admired TfL (Transport for London).

There are more details about the changes on this post from Inside the M60.


Station improvements delayed but on track for this summer – great news from GMPTE at FOWS AGM

March 5, 2011

The FOWS AGM gets under way at Walkden Legion Club (photo courtesy of Eden Photography)

The audience at Wednesday’s AGM heard from representatives from GMPTE and Northern Rail about future plans for rail in the Manchester area, and Walkden in particular.

One especially good piece of news reported by GMPTE’s Steve Magner was that the Station Improvement Strategy plans – previously thought to have been stalled by DfT spending cuts – are going ahead within the next 6 months. This plan should see various enhancements to the station including train-running information screens (like those at Swinton and Atherton), a Help Point, and improved road-signage toward the station. Great news 🙂

During an interesting talk on GMPTE’s objectives for rail, Guest Speaker Stephen Clark observed how well aligned GMPTE and FOWS objectives are in areas like improving Sunday services, reducing over-crowding, improving car parking and pedestrian safety, and urged FOWS to continue their close working partnership with GMPTE.

Marion is presented with a bouquet from FOWS (photo courtesy of Eden Photography)

During the AGM a fond farewell was also said to much-loved Marion Bainbridge, and she was presented with a bouquet and gift voucher from FOWS members. We wish Marion a very happy retirement and are delighted that she has joined FOWS now that her official role at the station is over !

The full minutes of the AGM will be published on this blog shortly.


AGM Agenda available now

February 26, 2011

The agenda for the FOWS annual general meeting can now be downloaded here.

The meeting is open to all members of the public and we hope lots of passengers will come along to hear our guest speaker Stephen Clark (Rail Director of GMPTE), bid a fond farewell to Marion who retires on Monday, and generally help participate in FOWS’ planning for the year ahead.

The meeting will start at 7.15pm on Wednesday (2nd March) at the Walkden Legion Club on Wilfred Road … we hope to see you there !


AGM date approaches

February 16, 2011

This year’s FOWS Annual General Meeting will be held at 7.15pm on Weds 2nd March in the Walkden Legion Club on Wilfred Road – that’s just 2 weeks away !

As usual we hope lots of members of the travelling public will attend to have their say on what FOWS should be tackling in the year ahead.

In the last 12 months we’ve scored some pretty big successes – none more so than the re-introduction of Sunday services after a 40 year gap. We were told it’s nearly impossible to get new train services started in England – but we did it !

Thanks to our really supportive partners at Northern Rail, Salford City Council and British Transport Police we’ve also seen CCTV cameras installed, anti-pigeon nets installed, and several arrests for anti-social behaviour at the station. The lesson is clear … there are significant gains that a volunteer group can achieve, and the more public support we have the better our chances of achieving more.

In addition to FOWS matters we’re also delighted to welcome the Rail Programme Director of GMPTE Stephen Clark, plus representatives of Northern Rail and BTP.

So why not come along and help shape FOWS’ plans for next year ?

Entrance is free (of course) and the Legion has a well-stocked, affordable bar so you don’t have to go thirsty !


Walkden station improvements fall victim to government cuts

January 18, 2011

At a recent meeting of GMITA’s Capital Projects committee it was announced that because of government spending cuts the DfT are reviewing their funding of the Small Station Improvement scheme. This is the scheme that was supposed to be contributing  towards the £100,000 safety, security and passenger information improvements due to be installed at Walkden this spring. As a result GMITA have had to put the planned improvements on ice until such time as the DfT funds are confirmed … if they ever are.

Naturally this is a bitter blow for the hundreds of thousands of passengers passing through Walkden each year. In fact the news could have been even worse: Ashton Under Lyne and Marple’s improvement plans have been turned down entirely by DfT, whereas Walkden’s still has at least a theoretical chance of going ahead later in the year.

Meanwhile we are keeping fingers crossed for another GMITA meeting coming up this Friday when a recommendation to continue funding for Sunday services is to be debated. Feedback from contacts at GMPTE and Northern Rail suggest there is little doubt the service is proving popular and living up to forecast usage levels, so we are anxiously waiting to see if it will survive the cuts.


GMPTE Local Transport Plan response

January 15, 2011

Some of FOWS’ work for the improvement of the station is long-term and behind-the-scenes. A good example of this are the responses we submit to transport planning consultations that potential impact the future development of the station. Although these typically affect long-term planning only, FOWS take every opportunity to ensure the best interests of the station’s ever-increasing users are taken into account.

In December we submitted a response (click here to download from our website) to GMPTE’s Local Transport Plan 3, a “5-year strategy for the management, maintenance, development and monitoring of the County’s transport system”.

Supporting our vision of “a series of affordable and sustainable enhancements to services and facilities, providing a more frequent service to a wider range of destinations, seven days a week”, the suggestions we make for Walkden include:

  • introducing services serving Piccadilly and Oxford Road, in order to provide access to the Universities, Manchester Royal Infirmary and other healthcare provision such as the Childrens’ Hospital and the various employment areas and entertainment venues in this part of Manchester;
  • direct service from Walkden to Manchester Airport;
  • Disabled access;
  • Longer staffing hours at Walkden to improve passengers’ perception of personal safety, along with safe and comfortable waiting conditions;
  • Provision of adequate car parking close to the station is desperately needed;
  • Improved connection times at Victoria especially evenings and Sundays, and on services to Rochdale, Ashton and Yorkshire;
  • Bus services which pass by the station need to be improved for better connectivity;
  • Better cycle facilities;
  • Better waiting areas both on the platform and within the station building need to be provided;
  • Lengthening of the platform to accommodate longer trains;
  • Raising of the platform level closer to the door level of trains;

In our submissions we try not to make unrealistic claims on what we recognise to be severely constrained transport budgets, but neither do we shirk from explaining the sometimes long list of areas for improvement, with constructive suggestions on the most cost-effective solutions available.

If your key issues aren’t represented in our response, please let us know – by email ( or attending out public AGM on March 2nd (more details of the time and venue to be confirmed nearer the date). We are an open-minded group and our objective is to make sure the voices of all station users are heard 🙂


Severe over-crowding strikes off-peak services

December 18, 2010

As we predicted a few weeks ago, severe over-crowding is affecting services to and from Walkden even during traditional off-peak times.

Some – but not all – of the extra demand is Christmas related, but with Northern Rail apparently all out of carriages the worst times to watch out for are Saturday service toward Manchester from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

Friday evening’s 2010 from Victoria was also severely over-crowded and running late due to the difficulty the guard had closing the doors.

Some Manchester-bound Sunday services have also been completely full – an incredible situation for a service which didn’t exist a year ago and even now is only running on a trial basis.

Late evening trains from Manchester on Saturday evenings have suffered severe over-crowding in the past few weeks.

Northern Rail are believed to be placing some buses on standby to deal with over-crowding on services from Manchester. We applaud their initiative but have to comment on what a pitiful state of affairs for a railway to be so inadequately equipped to meet the level of demand for its services.

One final point if you are affected by over-crowding in the weeks ahead – please don’t take it out on the Northern staff at the stations and on the trains, many of whom are just as frustrated and angry about the situation as you.

If you want to do something about it, we suggest you send written complaints to Northern Rail and GMPTE (see our advice on how to make sure your complaint is heard), and even better your MP as it is only at the highest levels that the solution – the desperately needed new carriages – can be found.


Christmas/New Year Trains

December 18, 2010

GMPTE’s website carries the following information about local train services over the Xmas & New Year period:

Thursday 23 December
Normal service.
Friday 24 December
Christmas Eve
Normal service with earlier finish, last journeys departing 1900 onwards.
Saturday 25 December
Christmas Day
No service.
Sunday 26 December
Boxing Day
No service

Monday 27 December and Tuesday 28 December

Normal service with a few early morning trains withdrawn on Monday 27 December.


Wednesday 29 December and Thursday 30 December
Normal service.
Friday 31 December
New Year’s Eve
Normal service with earlier finish, last journeys departing 1900 onwards.
Saturday 1 January 2011
Normal service with a few early morning
trains withdrawn.
Sunday 2 January 2011
Normal service.
Monday 3 January 2011
Normal service.
Tuesday 4 January 2011
Normal service.
NOTE: Service changes due to engineering work blockades on some routes during the period 27 December 2010 to 2 January 2011

The last train from Victoria to Walkden on Christmas Eve departs Manchester at 2010.

Check the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner for full details of exactly which trains are – or aren’t – running on each day.