Archive for the ‘Passenger Numbers’ Category


Passenger count records first big drop in 10 years

December 3, 2016

FOWS’s annual Passenger Count was held on Thursday 17th November and revealed a significant (25%) decline from 683 to 506 people boarding or alighting at the station from the start of services until 13:30.

Weather conditions and service reliability were good on the day, and we believe the unprecedented downturn is a result of passengers in southern Walkden and Ellenbrook migrating to the new Guided Busway.


Peak/Off-Peak and Inbound/Outbound Trends

The drop in patronage was fairly evenly distributed across all time slots and directions of travel.


Bucking the trend of recent weeks, punctuality was good with only 3 of the 31 trains more than 4 minutes late.


Short forming the 0757 to Manchester (running 2 carriages instead of the usual 4) led to delays and severe over-crowding on this and the following service, however all passengers were able to board.


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.


Passenger Numbers Hold Steady

November 22, 2014

This year’s FOWS passenger count on Nov 20th recorded almost identical passenger numbers using the station as last year: 707 instead of 711.

Around 50 extra passengers used the trains towards Manchester, counter balanced by 40 less in the Wigan direction – evidence perhaps of road users giving up on the congested East Lancs and A6 to try the train ? If so they would have found a good service in operation with some full trains (but all passengers able to board), good punctuality, and only one (off-peak) service cancelled.

The graph below shows the impressive rise in passenger numbers since FOWS’ first survey in 2007.

For full details of the survey results, check the Passenger Numbers page on the FOWS website.



Passenger count: 7% increase from 2012

November 23, 2013

FOWS’s annual passenger count took place this week and recorded a 7% increase in the total number of passengers using the station up to 1.30pm, taking usage levels back to 2011’s record high.

Total Passengers using Walkden station before 1.30pm on a sample Thursday, 2007-2013

Total Passengers using Walkden station before 1.30pm on a sample Thursday, 2007-2013

Increasing Manchester-bound travel

Interestingly the number of passengers travelling from Walkden towards Wigan fell by 14%, whereas passengers from Walkden to Manchester rose 15%. It seems possible that Manchester-bound travel is being boosted by commuters avoiding the roadworks on the East Lancs.


In keeping with the recent poor punctuality, only 2 of the 31 trains arrived at their scheduled times, and 1 was cancelled. The average delay was 6 minutes.


Several trains were “full & standing”, even during the mid-morning “off-peak” period, and 15 passengers were left behind when the 0759 was too crowded to board. Adding insult to injury, the delayed express arrived at Walkden 7 minutes later with plenty of room on board but passengers couldn’t board even though the train spent several minutes within sight of the platform waiting for a signal.


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.


Passenger count confirms another 20% rise in passengers

November 24, 2011

This morning’s annual passenger count by FOWS volunteers confirmed what regular passengers have already known – the trains at Walkden are getting busier and busier.

What may come as a surprise is to find out quite how much the numbers have grown year-on-year in FOWS surveys: from a total 431 passengers boarding or alighting trains at Walkden on a typical November Thursday morning (from 0600 to 1310), the number has rocketed 66% to 717 in just 4 years.

This year alone – against the backdrop of a prolonged economic slump – the total jumped a massive 20%.

Total Passengers counted in FOWS Surveys

The graph shows the continuing upward trend since FOWS surveys began.

Other interesting points from today’s survey include:

  • to Northern Rail’s credit a non-stop train from Atherton was requested to make an additional stop at Walkden – this unadvertised service picked up no less than 75 passengers !
  • despite the additional service (which had 4 carriages), 5 other Manchester bound trains were full and had standing room only.
  • the number of people travelling from Walkden increased by 60, but surprisingly the number of people travelling to Walkden (usually much lower in the morning) increased by 72

The downside to this spectacular success is over-crowding which is becoming a more and more frequent problem. Although our surveys only cover weekday mornings, we know from personal experience that even “off-peak” times like Saturdays and Sundays are seeing more overcrowded trains and, sadly, more would-be passengers left behind at the station.


The counting continues …

November 18, 2010

You may have noticed more counting taking place at the station this week as GMPTE conducted their annual passenger count on Wednesday morning.

GMPTE publish their results on the GMTU website once the figures from around the region have been collated, and after the difficulties with our FOWS count last week it will be very interesting to see the numbers that GMPTE found on a much more typical weekday morning.

Meanwhile, the full results from the FOWS 2010 count are now available on our website.