Campaign for retention of direct services to the south side of Manchester
Update November 28th
First some good news, our services will not be changed
before May 2018.
This is a deferral from December 2017 whereas some other
service and timetable changes will still be made at the end of next year and it
may well have been the case for our services too if it was not for the pressure
from the campaign.
Nevertheless, the plan remains to run both of
our services to Victoria and we were disappointed not to see any
kind of proposal tabled at the meeting on 21st November with
Northern and Rail North.
It was constructive, with information and thinking
exchanged, and actions agreed to work together between now and at the next meeting
in January. RN and Northern were positive there is time to work up options, and
explained it was a number of industry issues and dependencies that precluded
them from a meaningful discussion of options at this point. Proposed timetables
will be out for public consultation in March and the formal submission of
finalised timetables must be made to Network Rail in August as part of the
We made it clear that we expect to see the detail of real
options that will deliver the full 7 day service requirement.
We ensured the meeting was documented comprehensively
with key points, areas of agreement and actions. Our challenge is to drive the
have established some common ground. The data from the
independent passenger survey was reviewed and considered against our own work
with you. It was agreed there is good alignment and a firm basis to work from.
stands in our way?
Northern is clearly very
exercised by two issues:
The peak passenger numbers it needs to carry
between Bolton and Piccadilly either starting from or passing through Bolton. They
don’t seem to correlate this demand with the one in four that will be setting
out between Southport and Westhoughton for the south side.
The promised cascade of diesel trains is now
uncertain and subject to an unknown, possibly lengthy delay.
We will follow through on the actions agreed with RN and
Northern. At the same time we will be briefing and speaking with our MPs to
establish what further measures we can take.
Expect a further update in around 2 weeks. In the
meantime please come back with any queries, suggestions or other feedback.
Specifically there has been a suggestion that we engage employers on this, do
you think that is an avenue we should go down?
Issue and background
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.
And we welcome your comment and critical
feedback on the campaign through by e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or social media:
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 28th November) 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.