Fantastic news for Walkden station users as yesterday Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed the service – which initially ran on a 2-year trial – will be continued until the end of the Northern Rail franchise (April 2014).
The decision was announced to the Metrolink and Rail Networks sub-committee at a meeting yesterday: the full minutes can be downloaded here, and includes the following:
The successful Atherton Line Sunday service consists of an hourly train in each direction between Manchester Victoria and Wigan Wallgate, approximately between the hours of 0900 and 1900.
TfGMC has now authorised funding until the end of the Northern Rail franchise (April 2014). Beyond April 2014, the contract for this service will need to be agreed with the new franchisee.
The agreement with DfT and the outcome of closer partnership working with Northern Rail have resulted in a significant reduction in costs.
This success has secured the future of a service that filled a major gap in Sunday rail provision, which is proving increasingly popular. Analysis of passenger count data shows an average of 740 passengers boarding trains at the six stations on the Atherton
line (Daisy Hill, Hag Fold, Atherton, Walkden, Moorside and Swinton) on Sundays between May and August 2010.
FOWS would like to say a huge thank you to the councillors and officials at TfGM for their support of the Sunday service, and Northern Rail for working with TfGM to make a deal for running the service possible: it’s worth re-stating that Northern Rail’s franchise doesn’t require them to create new services, so we’re especially grateful that their management has chosen to support this highly valued local scheme.