Campaign for retention of direct services to the south side of Manchester
22nd UPDATE -
An independent company will survey morning peak time passengers on Monday 26th September. Although this may feel like a repetition it will be a good use of your time as it will verify the data we have presented and we urge you to complete the questionnaire.
Positive outcome from meeting with Rail Minister
The MPs whose constituencies are along our line met with the new Rail Minister, North West MP Paul Maynard on 6th
To support them and our cause Lisa Nandy Wigan MP set
up an online petition in order to demonstrate how many members of the
travelling public will be adversely affected over 1100 had signed before the meeting,
File Note from the meeting:
We were all very encouraged by the Minister's
understanding of the issues and his keenness to see a workable solution, and
your comments that - whilst certain aspects of the TSR and electrified line
utilisation targets might have to be revised - such a solution appears
The rail user groups (in particular Southport
Rail Transport Forum, Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers' Association,
and North West Manchester Station Friends' Alliance) have been very active in
pushing for the direct link to be retained, and we have also worked with Rail
North and Arriva Rail North on the issue. We appreciate this is a complex
problem but firmly believe that it is entirely realistic to expect a heavily
used and economically vital service to be maintained. We are therefore
more than ready to play a constructive part in the process.
Exactly how things will play out over the next
few weeks is not for us to say, but we shall certainly be talking with Rail
North and Arriva again as soon as possible to discuss potential solutions.
Every week day 850 peak period commuters rely on the
threatened service as do hundreds more throughout the day and week!
this point the rail service and timetable planning will result in the Southport
line losing its direct service to Piccadilly and the airport from December 2017.
breakthrough yet but see above, following meetings in August and September we are now in meaningful dialogue with
the right people. We are getting a hearing and the evidence collated from
counts and surveys plus the communication from passengers has made an
face many rail issues and constraints that make timetable planning challenging
(don’t read as misplaced sympathy) but maintain “within this process
opportunities for providing a through service from the Southport line to south
Manchester were being sought”.
can get a positive outcome with a political will, notably within the Department
for Transport - all 5 MPs with constituencies along the line from Southport to
Bolton West are raising this issue with rail ministers.
What next? Northern /Rail North
has asked us to work with them on a further passenger survey in late September/
early October to build on our previous work and establish by post code the
precise location passengers are travelling to, eg place of work. There are many
views that can be taken on this, but we have agreed because we are confident it
will prove our case and if it helps build credibility then it will be a
constructive step - we again ask for your support.
What can you do? While both Lancashire County Council and
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have stated their support for
retaining the service, TfGM remains uncommitted.
You may wish to help them “conduct their further research on end destinations”
by sending your travel need with post code and name of your workplace to email@example.com and please copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And we welcome your comment and critical
feedback on the campaign through by e mail or the established social media: facebook: southportrailtransportforum
Twitter @opsta15 or
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 29th August) 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
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
With Northern promising to
increase the number of staffed stations under the new franchise could they
provide some financial support here?
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.
Rail users can assist
by emailing their observations and experiences to email@example.com.