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

Update 21st Feb

A meeting has been arranged between our 5 MPs and the Rail Minister/ Dept for Transport for 1st March in Westminster. It will be attended by Northern and representatives of the campaign groups.

This is still a long way from a satisfactory outcome and a solution may need some additional funding which is why we are seeking passenger support at this critical stage, see the gotopiccadilly page.

Not a breakthrough but we had our best meeting yet with Northern on 25th January when they shared some service option thinking which although it would not meet our full requirement,  demonstrated they are really trying to do something for us and it might be feasible to build on this base to deliver something more satisfactory. Constructive dialogue has continued since.

It is not possible to give any detail at this point because there is more for us to do in conjunction with Northern and they are still facing a
number of uncertainties in terms of their operating environment and rail infrastructure (electrification etc) that they have to deal with.

Please contact us with any queries, suggestions or other feedback especially if you use off peak services let us know your reason and frequency of travel.

You can comment and give critical feedback on the campaign by e mail to or social media:

facebook: southportrailtransportforum     Twitter @opsta15

Burscough Bridge Ticket Office

There is behind-the-scenes work to find a viable way of running a ticket office in the future, with OPSTA supporting the Friends of Burscough Stations in seeking a solution that would form an integral part of an initiative by Burscough Parish Council to see the building put to good use for the community.

The Parish Council held a meeting on 20th Feb to consider the viability of the business plan to take over the premises. We made an expression of interest in re-opening a ticket office. There is a lot to be done by all parties before this is agreed formally.

While Northern has stated clearly it has no interest in staffing the station and will in course install Ticket Vending Machines, it would be supportive of a third party retail agency and would help the re-equipping of a booking office should a suitable third party come forward.

Ormskirk-Preston Services

Northern has confirmed it intends to increase services to 17 a day between Preston and Ormskirk thus delivering an hourly,  timetable, but this will not be introduced before May 18 (back from Dec 17) due to the impact of widespread industry delays in electrification schemes and cascade of rolling stock.

Northern has indicated this schedule will be achieved through 'interworking' train units with other services thus enabling 2 trains to be running on the line simultaneously and passing on “the Preston approaches”, but not as a timetabled through service.

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 and raised the issue of students travelling from East Lancashire having to endure poor connections at Preston.

Midge Hall – OPSTA has submitted a paper outlining the case for a station to the Developer of the nearby brownfield Leyland test track site. Planning permission is sought for 1200 homes plus business premises. The Developer has indicated it will use it as part of their revised Development Masterplan that they are obliged to submit to the local council. OPSTA will also circulate this document to other stakeholders and potential influencers. This may also be covered by the Leyland Guardian.

Fare Collection

Rail users can assist by emailing their observations and experiences to


Timetables and service changes

Those were the days
Ormskirk 1908

21stFebruary Updates (centre)
- Southport Manchester Campaign
- Burscough Bridge Ticket Office

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 follow us here and on twitter @opsta15.

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