A POPULAR peak hour train WILL stop at Westhoughton again — but commuters will have to wait four months before it is back on the tracks.
The Bolton News reported in May how the Northern Rail 4.38pm service from Manchester Victoria to Wigan no longer called at Westhoughton, causing a major headache for passengers.
It followed a change in timetable, meaning trains had to skip the station to make a connection in Wigan.
Now, transport bosses have announced the service will stop at Westhoughton again from October 6, pending final approval from the Department for Transport.
Bolton Council’s cabinet member for transport and leader of Westhoughton Town Council Cllr David Chadwick said he was pleased they were able to bring the train back through the station.
The earliest it could come back would be within six weeks, he said, but various engineering work on the line meant October was the most “sensible” option.
Cllr Chadwick added: “It will come back on October 6. There is a willingness to put it back in, and that’s down to the good working relationship between Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM), Northern Rail, First Transpennine Express and Bolton Council.
“It will go back in — although it might be a bit earlier, or might be a bit later.”
Commuter Caroline Mangnall was one of the passengers affected by the change in timetable, and has had to travel via Daisy Hill station and walk home.
She said: “While it’s welcome news, it would be more welcome news if it was a bit sooner.
“It’s frustrating that for the next few months I’ll have to make alternative arrangements.
“We’ll have to be patient.”
A Northern Rail spokesman said they had listened to commuters’ concerns.
He added: “After meeting with local stakeholders and taking on board our customers’ feedback, we have reviewed the recent timetable changes to trains on the Bolton to Wigan route.
“We are pleased to confirm that a Westhoughton stop will be reinstated on the 4:38pm Manchester Victoria to Wigan service.
“We hope to implement this as part of the next timetable change, scheduled for October 6.”
A TFGM spokesman added: “By making these timetable alterations we are able to effectively balance the needs of Northern Rail passengers while still retaining efficient journey flows and peak-time capacity.”
The Bolton News launched its Let’s Get Back On Track campaign calling for an end to Bolton’s “cattle-truck” trains.
And Prime Minister David Cameron promised Bolton would get an extra 200 seats, with some being introduced on the morning commuter route before the end of the year.