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Todmorden Pride

Taking a practical approach to the regeneration of Todmorden

Walsden Train Station Cuts

By David Storah

A significant reduction in rail services is planned by Northern Rail for the train station in Walsden. Todmorden Pride have written to Northern Rail to express our views and ask for more information regarding the planned cuts in service.

Todmorden Pride’s work to date has been towards positive developments, but we are also concerned to ensure that no backward steps might be taken which would adversely affect the efforts that we and other organisations are making to aid the regeneration of Todmorden and its surrounding areas, such as Walsden. Transport links are an essential element in the viability of existing communities and the attractiveness for redevelopment of a given area relative to another.

Walsden Train Station Cuts

The following is a letter sent to Northern Rail on the 12th August 2008 expressing our views and asking for more information regarding the planned cuts in service.

Picture - Ian Kirk Wikimedia Commons



Dear Sirs,

re - Walsden Station Todmorden -  Schedule alterations

I refer to our phone conversation on 7th August 2008 regarding the proposed changes to rail schedules affecting services at Walsden station. 

I am writing on behalf of Todmorden Pride, one of a number of Town Teams within Calderdale established to help promote and support regeneration initiatives within the metropolitan borough. The Todmorden Pride committee consists of a mixture of local government councillors, technical professions and business representatives, amongst others. We work jointly with organisations such as Calderdale MBC, Yorkshire Forward, Network Rail and British Waterways to ensure that informed opinion from within the town, including information on local knowledge and community issues, is taken into account when new proposals are under development.

Our work to date has been towards positive developments, but we are also concerned to ensure that no backward steps might be taken which would adversely affect the efforts that we and other organisations are making to aid the regeneration of Todmorden and its surrounding areas, such as Walsden. Transport links are an essential element in the viability of existing communities and the attractiveness for redevelopment of a given area relative to another.

On the face of it, a significant reduction in rail services stopping at Walsden is one such adverse development. There is some experience of transportation operational planning and consultancy on the Todmorden Pride Committee and we do therefore recognise that there may be legitimate operational or powerful economic reasons which might necessitate a change in service schedules.

However, we do not currently have the information which would allow us to take a rational view on the proposals. We would therefore request that we be sent a copy of the consultation material you have already sent to consultees such as Calderdale MBC. Until we see the available information, we cannot properly formulate our comments or questions, but we could expect that the following matters, amongst others, would need to be addressed:

1. Origin-destination data for trips to and from Walsden.

2. Passenger usage to and from Walsden, split by daily time period, including changes from year to year, together with relevant information relating to ticket pricing structure which might have affected actual usage.

3. Any data relating to journey time and ticket price sensitivity which may be relevant. For example, it is common for passengers from Walsden travelling towards Manchester to drive to Littleborough to avoid the “Summit Tunnel Toll”. (You will be aware that for a relatively small time penalty there is a disproportionately high price penalty to be paid for travelling by train the 4 miles between Walsden and Littleborough, including the loss of ‘free’ Metrolink journeys within Manchester city centre.) From personal knowledge and custom, this does result in a loss of patronage at Walsden for journeys towards Manchester.

4. Projected changes in usage resulting from the proposed service alterations, together with the impact on fare revenue.

5. Relevant information on train path timings, i.e. demonstration that stops cannot be made in Walsden without jeopardising the proposed schedules, and whether any alternative operational patterns were considered.

6. In the event that there is no operational reason why services cannot stop at Walsden, what is the marginal cost of doing so, what revenue might be expected if they did, and what patronage would be necessary to meet the additional marginal cost?

You will appreciate that concern about the proposed changes is already being expressed within the area, through the local press for example. A meaningful response to this email would assist both Todmorden Pride and other local organisations, businesses and individuals to understand the reasons behind the proposed changes and to be satisfied that they are not being made primarily for economic reasons.

Yours faithfully,

J. David Storah
Secretary to Todmorden Pride.
c.c. Ms. J. McDaid Northern Rail Customer Relations.
Todmorden Town Council.
Cllr Watson Cllr Wainwright Cllr Cooper - Calderdale MBC.

August 14, 2008

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Established in January 1998 the Todmorden Pride Board, operating as a voluntary group, includes a diverse range of representatives drawn from all sectors of the community of Todmorden.

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