Support The Rochdale Oldham Manchester rail lines group

Annual Report 2018

The wholesale revamp of the Northern railway services originally planned for December 2017 had to be postponed mainly because of delays by Network Rail in completing electrification schemes which would release diesel rollingstock from other Train Operating Companies to Northern. The only new timetable feature was the extension of several of the trains from Leeds to and from Manchester Oxford Road. These are mainly off-peak so not yet very attractive for those commuters in that part of the City Centre. The leaf fall season in the autumn of 2017 was the worst in memory. It started early and went on for several weeks due to the appallingly wet weather. There were cancellations and a lot of late running.

Ticket barriers have been installed at a number of stations including Rochdale. The arrangements are not ideal because of the need to incorporate the lift which is on the opposite side of the subway to the stairs. Opinions differ but they do seem to have had a deterrent effect on fare dodgers. The new ticket machines are better than the originals but still rather slow in operation.

Overcrowding remains a problem at peak times. The series of RMT nationally organised strikes continue to disrupt travel. It does seem to be a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. The art of compromise ought to be able to find a way forward.

The fare increases in January 2018 increased the discrepancy in Rochdale fares being 25% more expensive than other fares for journeys of a similar distance from other stations.

There seems to be no end to the discrimination which means that railway ticket holders to/from Rochdale have to pay on Metrolink from the Town Centre to the Railway Station unlike in the City Centre of Manchester.

Compared with West Yorkshire stations, stations in Greater Manchester have far fewer park and ride spaces. Its time for Transport for Greater Manchester to start being more active in this field. The success of the Miall Street Metrolink/Rail car park shows how big the demand is. A second car park at Rochdale of the same size would still be inadequate.

Richard Greenwood Rochdale March 2018


Members can be assured that STORM remains focussed on improving the heavy and light rail services in our area. In 2017/18 our efforts were concentrated on getting a more frequent service at Littleborough and Moston.

Our efforts seemed to have been rewarded when Northerrail’s Draft timetable for May 2018 incorporated most of our suggestions. Unfortunately the delay in completing electrification schemes around the country has scuppered the cascade of additional diesel units to Northern and other operators. As a result there are insufficient units to operate an increased frequency. We remain hopeful that the additional services will be fitted into the December 2018 timetable. We had planned a substantial publicity exercise cum membership drive around the better service. This too will be postponed.

We continued to work with groups having similar objectives. In January 2018 we joined forces with Hadrag (Halifax And District Rail Action Group) to create an Electrification Charter. This will be launched in summer 2018 and will be the vehicle supporting a range of initiatives designed to ensure the North, in particular the Calder Valley line, is not left out of electrification plans.

We continued to cooperate with FoLS (Friends of Littleborough Stations)

Metrolink continued to delight and exasperate in equal measure. When it works it is an excellent transport solution, carrying over 3 times the passengers than the heavy rail service on the Loop. When it goes wrong, though passengers are too often left to their own devices. A good example is terminating trams at Freehold stop when there are problems in the Oldham area. Freehold only has single decker Oldham - Middleton once an hour and a mini bus once an hour I think which goes to Chadderton Precinct  but Westwood stop has a better bus service being on a major road from Middleton to Oldham and within walking distance, the problem that day was something in Oldham town centre. We have pointed this out to Metrolink on several occasions.

Many members (and Transport professionals) receive our innovative STORM Matters email briefing. Produced each Friday by Frank Salt this recently celebrated its 400th edition.

We met representatives from Northernrail on several occasions and maintain an excellent relationship with the local Franchisee.

The demise of the Oldham Chronicle newspaper removed a useful conduit for our views and comment. Chairman Greenwood missives regularly appear in the Manchester Evening News. Later in 2018 STORM will be launching our own Facebook page.

Finally, your Committee meet on the second Tuesday of each month at Woolworths Social Club, Gypsy Lane, Castleton

Peter V Dawson OLDHAM March 2018

Contact Information


Meeting Place: Woolworths Social Club
Gipsy Lane
OL11 3HA

Meeting times

2nd Tuesday of each month at Woolworths Club, Gipsy Lane, Castleton, Rochdale OL11 3HA.