Barbara Keeley MP

LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Transport Secretary Visits Walkden Station

170Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly paid a visit to Walkden Station at the invitation of Barbara, to see for herself some of the issues raised by train users and community campaigners.

Barbara has given her support to the Friends of Walkden Station (FoWS) group, which was founded earlier this year to campaign for better facilities for passengers and improvements to rail services from Walkden Station.

Currently, the only access to the trains is via two long flights of stairs, meaning that many people with mobility problems and parents with prams or pushchairs are unable to use the station. Access to and from trains is further hampered by the unusually large gaps between train doors and platforms, while the station is only staffed until early afternoon. There is currently no Sunday service to or from the station, and passengers have expressed concern at the poor lighting on platforms and lack of CCTV.

Last week, Barbara Keeley spoke at a public meeting organised by FoWS to review the first six months of the campaign. Local residents then raised a number of concerns including access, parking, safety at the station, staffing and the need for better train services.

After the meeting, Barbara Keeley re-affirmed her commitment to the campaign:

“My constituency office is close to the Station, so I am very much aware of the problems faced by passengers wishing to travel to or from Walkden by train. We are fortunate to have a direct rail service, but I have no doubt that many more local people would travel by train, reducing traffic congestion, if services and facilities could be improved.”

The Greater Manchester Passenger Authority Executive and station operators Northern Rail are also working with the Friends group, but it is clear that investment will be needed from Network Rail if needed improvements are to be made. Barbara Keeley invited Ruth Kelly, MP for the neighbouring Bolton West constituency and Secretary of State for Transport to visit the station, and also briefed her on the work of FoWS.

Following the visit, Barbara Keeley said:

“I am very pleased that Ruth Kelly was able to find time to visit Walkden, to see for herself some of the problems at the station, and also to hear how local people are working with GMPTE and the train operators to solve these problems. Ruth seemed very interested in the work that has already been done, and I intend to pursue these issues at Westminster, now that Parliament has returned

“The Friends of Walkden Station and their partners have made an excellent start on the campaign, and I will do what I can to help them and my constituents who use the station.”

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