Archive for the ‘Northern Rail’ Category


Ordsall Chord and Northern Hub info

July 2, 2016

If you’ve heard talk of the “Ordsall Chord” and “Northern Hub” plans for our local railway network and wondered what it’s about you may be interested in some videos from Network Rail explaining the Network Rail video of recent works at Victoria and showing a computer generated “fly-through” of the extra platforms and tracks that will be added between Piccadilly and Oxford Road.

While good for the wider region there is still uncertainty whether local services will be net winners or losers from the project … direct trains between Victoria and Piccadilly will no doubt be a boon to passengers travelling south with luggage, but it seems unlikely Walkden will gain direct services to Piccadilly (the new track will be busy with trains coming in from further afield) and we may see more congestion getting into and out of the Salford area as more trains pass through.

FoWS are campaigning for local interests to be protected by TfGM and Northern when the Ordsall Chord is opened.


Northern’s Bike and Go scheme awarded

March 2, 2016

Northern’s “Bike & Go” scheme which offers bike hire from around 60 participating stations has been called one of the UK’s best rental companies according to a survey by TripAdvisor subsidiary Holiday Lettings.

Congratulations to Northern and if you’re heading off somewhere and want to cycle at your destination without lugging your bike all the way with you, why not give the scheme a try ? Rental costs just £3.80 per day and there’s a £10 Annual Subscription. See Bike & Go for full details of the scheme and participating stations.


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.


4% drop in total passengers in 2015 count

December 5, 2015

The total number of passengers using Walkden station between 0600 and 1330 fell 4% to 683 this year. Almost all of the decline was in the Off-Peak (after 0930) Manchester direction, and may be attributed to the wet and windy weather conditions which probably persuaded several leisure travellers to stay at home.


Peak and Off-Peak Trends

“Pre-peak” (trains before 0730) and “Peak” (trains from 0730 to 0930) were virtually unchanged from the previous year with 16 more pre-peak travellers and one less peak.

But the main change was a drop of 20% (46 passengers) travelling on Off Peak services after 0930.

Inbound and Outbound Flows

Travel towards Wigan was virtually unchanged from 2014, but numbers into Manchester were hit by the drop in off-peak travel and fell by 32.


Continuing November’s trend punctuality was poor with only 1 of the 31 trains departing on time. The average delay was 5 minutes.

Northern Rail suffered particularly acute “leaf fall” problems this year due to still, damp conditions causing leaves to stick to lines longer.


Seven trains were “full & standing” and 32 passengers were denied boarding.

More details

For full details and graphs giving a train-by-train picture of the passenger volumes at Walkden please see the FoWS website.


Come to the FOWS AGM !

March 7, 2015

The agenda for our Annual General Meeting can now be downloaded here.

It’s sure to be one of the most important AGM’s for years with the recent publications about electrification planning and increased services in the next Northern franchise, and we are delighted Northern Rail’s Matthew Worman will be joining us as Guest Speaker.

The meeting is open to all members of the public with an interest in the future of Walkden station – and we welcome views and ideas from members and non-members alike.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm in the Concert Room at Walkden Legion Club on Wilfred Road, M28 3AJ.



New Northern franchise promises dramatic service improvement from 2017

March 1, 2015

The DfT this week published the Invitation To Tender for operating the Northern franchise from 2017, and contrary to many people’s fears it includes some dramatic uplifts in minimum service levels across the network … and Walkden seems to be one of the biggest beneficiaries !

Our timetable geeks are running over the facts and figures so we may yet discover some catches, but on the face of things the new operator will be compelled to increase the number of services from Manchester on weekdays from 31 to 51 – that’s a quarter-hourly service during the day – and the Sunday service will become half-hourly during the day, and run later into the evening.

There’s “many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip” but so far as we can see this will be a legally binding minimum level of service that the winning bidder is bound to provide, and it’s difficult to imagine any shade of government that forms after May making such an unpopular move as to row back on commitments so closely linked to the main parties’ pledges to boost the northern economy.


FOWS Annual General Meeting date and venue confirmed

February 7, 2015

Our Annual General Meeting will be held at Wednesday 11th March starting at 7.30pm in the Concert Room, Walkden Legion Club, Wilfred Road, Worsley, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M28 3AJ.

Our AGM – like all our meetings – is free to attend and open to the general public, and we hope to see a mixture of old friends and new faces there.

Matthew Worman, Northern Rail’s Client & Stakeholder Manager has kindly agreed to give a short update on status and plans at Northern Rail.

Provisional dates for our 2015 meetings, which all start at 7.15pm @ Walkden Legion Club are:

  • Weds 13th May
  • Weds 15th July
  • Weds 9th Sept
  • Weds 11th Nov

Minutes of last year’s AGM are attached here for reference.