Campaign for retention of direct services to the south side of Manchester City Centre

The train operator's plan is to route all services on the Southport - Manchester lines to Victoria from December 2017.

The bottom line: daily over 830 peak period commuters rely on the threatened service as do hundreds more throughout the day!

On 1st July the four MPs for Southport, West Lancs, Wigan and Makerfield, local authorities, OPSTA and SRTF met with Arriva Northern and Rail North.We were seeking a positive outcome in which both services to Victoria and Piccadilly are retained and even improved.

Our MPs, who had set aside time specifically to work with rail managers to find a solution that would retain rail services for their constituents, were left visibly infuriated and frustrated when it became clear Arriva had no real intention of finding a way of saving the Piccadilly-Airport link from being axed in Dec 2017.

Arriva’s blunt justification, “we have a commercial contract with DfT”.

In response to the major concern expressed by travellers over the time loss and uncertainty in making a rail connection, especially at busy peak periods in the evening; “it will be all right”, “it will not be a problem”.

A lot more was covered and there is a long way to go with this campaign, so expect to read more from us very soon.

Something to say? At this point we are not requesting e mails to be sent anywhere but clearly you are free to do as you choose. We will certainly be seeking further intervention and show of support soon. And please do comment and contact us.


Who are we?

The Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers' Association - OPSTA - is the rail user group for West Lancashire's railways using the traditional boundaries described by Preston, Wigan and Liverpool.

We are a non political group that campaigns for the retention, improvement and development of the railway links between Liverpool and Preston via Ormskirk, and from Southport and Kirkby to Manchester via Wigan. We are members of the West of Lancashire Community Rail Partnership and the One West Lancs Transport group.

If you find that we share common aims please join us or you can follow us here (last updated on  5th July) and on twitter @opsta15.

Burscough Bridge Ticket Office

The ticket office closed on June 25th and although there is behind-the-scenes work to find a viable way of running it in the future, a solution has not been found yet.

OPSTA will assist and work constructively with all parties to get a staffed ticket office re-opened, and if necessary, as looks increasingly likely, we will campaign on this issue too.

With Northern promising to increase the number of staffed stations under the new franchise could they provide some financial support here?


Ormskirk-Preston Services

Although it is widely reported that the proposed and very welcome increase to 17 services a day between Preston and Ormskirk will deliver an hourly, clockface timetable, we await the detail. Northern has said timetables are being worked on and indicated this schedule will be achieved through sharing train unit allocations with other services thus enabling 2 trains to be running on the line simultaneously and passing on “the Preston approaches”. Suggestion that our line will become part of a timetabled through service was denied.

Our surveys clearly show the importance of getting the times aligned to traveller need especially in the peak periods which means a more frequent if irregular service that could only be achieved by a return to units passing at Rufford.

OPSTA has submitted a schedule for consideration.

Fare Collection

Rail users can assist by emailing their observations and experiences to


Timetables and service changes

Those were the days

Ormskirk station, 1908


AGM 20th July at 19.30

Non members welcome. The meeting will start promptly at 19.30.

The meeting will take place at the Burscough Methodist Church Hall, Orrell Lane, Burscough, L40 0SG.

This is an accessible room on the ground floor with a lot of space inside and good facilities.
Tea and Coffee will be served. 

It is 5 minutes walk from Burscough Bridge and less than 10 minutes walk from Burscough Junction stations. There is a car park with additional parking two minutes walk away by the Wharf.


New Rolling Stock

Merseytravel/ Merseyrail - On 24 February David Powell Merseytravel Rolling Stock programme Director gave members a very comprehensive presentation on the procurement of new trains for the Merseytravel network and the potential for extended services.

The audience was very interested to hear about the consideration of 'ipemu' and power storage technology and provisions within the tender that allow for the replacement fleet to be doubled in size if required -  his presentation can be viewed using this link.

Northern Trains - Arriva Rail North and Spain manufacturer CAF have put together a 2 minute CGI presentation on the new rolling stock now on order. Presumably the appearance will be much the same whether they be diesel or electric. There will be 31 x 3-car and and 12 x 4-car EMUs and 25 x 2-car and 30 x 3-car DMUs, though none is likely to appear at Ormskirk or Southport!.

View CGI video


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