Manchester’s Atherton line Sunday services to continue

Transport leaders have agreed that Sunday rail services between Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria will continue to run on the Atherton line for another year, after a trial beginning last summer proved successful.

Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) funds the Northern Rail service, and agreed today at a meeting of its Policy & Resources Committee that it will do so for a further 12 months beyond the end of the current trial period in May 2011.

The service runs hourly on Sundays during the day between Manchester Victoria and Wigan Wallgate, via Atherton and Walkden.

Councillor Keith Whitmore, Chair of GMITA’s Policy & Resources Committee, said: “Sunday rail services across Greater Manchester are a priority for GMITA, and Sunday trains for the Atherton line were something we had pressed for.

“Since we agreed to fund a year-long trial of Sunday services on the Atherton line last year, the service has given people in Atherton and Walkden the chance to travel easily by train into Manchester and Wigan on Sundays for shopping, work and leisure.

“Support for the service since the trial began last May has been encouraging.

“We’ll now be funding the service until May 2012, and will review passenger numbers – so the more people that use the service, the better.”

The Sunday services on the Atherton line operate in addition to the trains from Wigan to Manchester Piccadilly via Bolton, providing an extra train between Wigan and central Manchester every hour.

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