CAMPAIGNERS calling for improvements to rail services in their area say they have had a positive response.

Friends of Walkden Station was set up 14 months ago.

Chairman Peter Aust said that since then he had regularly met representatives of both train operator Northern Rail and infrastructure owner Network Rail.

The friends group's key aims include getting a sealed-off section of the platform reopened and securing Sunday services for the station.

Trains which are longer than two carriages are currently unable to stop at Walkden because of the shortened platform. This means passengers are forced to cram on to packed rush-hour Wigan to Manchester services and often cannot get aboard.

Mr Aust said: "There are issues around the safety of the platform structure which need to be resolved before it can be reopened but we are encouraged by the response we've had from Northern Rail, which runs the station.

"It's frustrating because passengers often have to wait for a second train, only to find that packed too."

Mr Aust said the station needed Sunday services for people who work or shop in Manchester, visit Blackpool or want to get to the airport.

Worsley MP Barbara Keeley said she too was "encouraged" after raising the issues at a meeting with Northern Rail managing director Heidi Mottram this month.

Ms Keeley said: "It provided me with an opportunity to express the concerns of local people, many of whom are unhappy with the station and the rail services currently available."