Sunday Service Gala

On May 23rd 2010 FOWS' campaign to restore Sunday services to Walkden achieved an historic landmark as the first trains for over 41 years ran from the station, marking the start of a one-year trial funded by GMITA.

To celebrate the occasion FOWS held a gala at the station with civic guests and bringing together more than 20 local businesses, schools and voluntary organisations. The weather was fantastic and hundreds of local people turned out to make it a truly special day.

For further details of the gala please see our blog or press release.

Except where otherwise stated all of the photographs on this page were taken by Daniel Eden of Eden Photography. FOWS are extremely grateful to Daniel for providing his professional services for free, and for the marvellous pictorial record he has given us. If you would like to use or copy one of Daniel's photos, please contact him at Eden Photography.

Decorations outside Walkden station entrance. The station entrance decorated by FOWS for the Gala

The balloon arch in Northern Rail colours was generously donated by Abracadabra Party Organisers.

Balloon arch.
Balloon arch. Photo: Neil Stapleton

Booking hall full of stalls. The station booking hall lined with stalls and activities for the gala

There was great excitement as the first passenger train to call at Walkden for over 41 years arrived at 9.37 bearing commemotative headboards specially made by Northern Rail for the day.

First Sunday train for 41 years. Photo: Neil Stapleton
Commemorative train headboard.

The crowds were entertained by the splendid Beau Brass Band playing on the station platform.

Beau Brass Band.
Beau Brass Band.

The platform was packed with well-wishers to hear addresses by our special guests.

Gala speeches on Walkden station.

Spontaneous applause and cheers greeted trains on arrival !

Cheering crowd. Photo: Neil Stapleton
Cheering crowd.

Chair of FOWS Peter Aust with the Mayor of Salford, Mayoress of Salford Carole Wilson and Councillor Keith Whitmore, Chair of GMITA. The celebration cake was kindly donated by Combs Hair & Beauty of Newearth Road, Walkden.

Gala speeches on Walkden station.

The Mayor of Salford Councillor George Wilson cut a ribbon to mark the launch of the Sunday service.

Ribbon cutting ceremony.
Crowd gather to hear speeches.

Special guests at the gala included Cllr Keith Whitmore (left), Cllr George Wilson the Mayor of Salford, the Mayoress of Salford, and Barbara Keeley MP (centre), and our magnificent Master of Ceremonies Derek Timmins-Jones.

Councillor Keith Whitmore.
Mayor, Mayoress, and Barbara Keeley MP.
Derek Timmins-Jones.

The Mayor of Salford Councillor George Wilson cut the cake, and was presented with a donation to one of his chosen charities The Salfordian Trust from FOWS.

Cake cutting ceremony.
FOWS present a cheque to the Mayor's charity.

Northern Rail's Mark Barker presented replicas of the special commemorative train headboards to (clockwise from top left) Barbara Keeley MP, Peter Aust (FOWS), Cllr Keith Whitmore (GMITA), and Cllr George Wilson the Mayor of Salford.

Mark Barker and Barbara Keeley MP.
Mark Barker and Peter Aust.

Mark Barker and Cllr George Wilson.
Mark Barker and Cllr Keith Whitmore.

Guests and visitors to the Walkden station gala pose beneath the smartly painted Victorian platform canopy.

Gala visitors at Walkden station.

FOWS sold home-grown herbs to raise funds for station gardening, while crowds on the platform enjoyed the sunshine and speeches.

FOWS Plant Sale. Photo: Paul Salveson
Crowds on Walkden station platform.

Gala guests of honour prepare to leave the station via the balloon arch.

Gala guests at Walkden station.

FOWS Chairman Peter Aust escorted the Mayor and Mayoress around the station at Walkden, pointing out the improvements made by FOWS and Northern Rail.

Peter Aust with the Mayor and Mayoress of Salford.
Peter Aust greets the Mayor of Salford.

Children from Christ the King RC and St Paul's C of E school took part in a poster design competition to advertise the new train services from Walkden. We were amazed by their creativity and artistry, and we plan to showcase some of the posters at the station in future. Here Barbara Keeley MP presents prizes to Kerris Forrester from St Paul's school and one of the winning children.

Barbara Keeley MP with Kerris Forrester from St Paul's School with posters designed by the pupils.
FOWS poster design competition winner with Barbara Keeley MP.

The Sunday trains were a constant source of interest to gala visitors, and splendidly turned out by Northern Rail with special commemorative headboards.

Barbara Keeley MP with Kerris Forrester from St Paul's School with posters designed by the pupils. Photo: Brian Hewitt
FOWS poster design competition winner with Barbara Keeley MP. Photo: Neil Stapleton
FOWS poster design competition winner with Barbara Keeley MP. Southport and Wigan bound passengers board the first Sunday train from Walkden to Wigan for 41 years clutching their buckets, spades and balloons !