Area: Greater Manchester
Friends of Walkden Station is a community volunteer group founded in 2007 to work for improvements to facilities and services at Walkden station, a suburban stop on the busy Manchester to Wigan (via Atherton) route.
Faced with a run-down station and various service problems we have a three-pronged approach to station improvements:
1) Undertaking practical environmental enhancements
2) Campaigning for improvements through Northern Rail, GMPTE, the media and political channels
3) Increasing awareness of the station and building a broad base of support among local businesses, politicians and residents
We've sucessfully campaigned for a Sunday train service and made significant improvements to the station environment through gardening projects and regular station clean-ups (see our 'before and after' photos). Working in partnership with Northern Rail we have helped bring many other improvements to the station including CCTV cameras, longer and higher platform surfaces, improved connections at Manchester Victoria, flower beds and floral planters. Other major issues – such as disabled access to the station – are still on our agenda, and in 2014 we initiated a Steering Group to share expertise and resources with other Friends groups in the area.
Through a series of public meetings and events such as a station anniversary party we have raised the profile of the station among local people, and we enjoy strong cross-party support from our MP Barbara Keeley and local councillors in our attempts to improve the station.
The group meets every two months at the Walkden Royal British Legion Club. See the group's website for meeting dates.
April 2014: The Sunday service has been running for four years and proved so popular there is a strong chance it will be written into the next Northern franchise as a mandatory provision.
May 2010: Hundreds of people came to a station gala to celebrate the first Sunday train service on the Walkden line for over 41 years - a successful conclusion to our three-year campaign! There was a party atmosphere on the platform, and when a train arrived bearing a commemorative headboard the crowd burst into spontaneous cheering! We hope that the one-year trial of Sunday services will be so popular that it will become a permanent fixture.
The photo above (courtesy of Daniel Eden, Eden Photography) shows the station gala in full swing.
Find out more in our press release (PDF, 350K)
January 2010: Friends Of Walkden Station have recently had some good news: after a gap of many (probably 30 or more) years we have succeeded in persuading GMITA and Northern Rail to run a Sunday train service (pdf 48kb) on the busy Manchester-Wigan via Walkden route. The service is more limited than the weekday timetable and we have secured funding for a one-year trial. Read how the campaign developed.