OPSTA's Manifesto

    OPSTA – the Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers' Association – represents rail users travelling on West Lancashire's local lines, ie. between Ormskirk to Preston and Southport and Wigan. The Ormskirk – Preston line is the upper section of rail route between Liverpool Central and Preston. The Southport – Wigan line continues eastwards to Manchester. At Wigan, the line is joined by the Liverpool Central – Kirkby – Wigan route.

    Numerous rail users on OPSTA's lines of direct interest travel to and from beyond West Lancashire, and are considered entirely relevant to OPSTA's aims.

    OPSTA recognises the value of bus services especially as feeder links for the rail user.

    With a significant population in the catchment area, serious road traffic congestion in and around the conurbations served by the railway lines is continuing to cause problems within the environment such as poor air quality, in addition to extended journey times. Better rail provision is long overdue. The poor rail service, particularly in terms of its frequency and reliability, together with the perceived insecurity of unstaffed stations, have acted as a deterrence to modal shift by suppressing demand.

    OPSTA advocates the following.

    Existing train service – all routes
    • Improvements to punctuality and reliability providing a minimum standard of nineteen in twenty trains running within five minutes of schedule, and forty nine in fifty trains running as scheduled. 
    • When a service is cancelled or meets with significant delay, alternative travel to be offered free as a substitute.
    • Assured capacity to reflect demand notably during the 'peaks' and seasonally.
    • High quality rolling stock.
    Improvements Ormskirk - Preston
    • A base level daily hourly service commencing 6.30am ex Preston, with a Monday to Saturday minimum half-hour interval from first train until 6.00pm, the last train leaving Preston at 11.30pm. A Sunday service hourly all stations between 9.30am and 11.30pm. 
    Improvements Southport – Wigan
    • A base level daily hourly service to Manchester Airport commencing 6.30am ex Southport, with a Monday to Saturday minimum half hourly service until 6.30pm, alternating between all stations (trains to Wigan/Manchester) and limited stops at Burscough, Parbold and Appley Bridge (trains to Manchester Airport), the last train leaving Southport at 11.30pm. A Sunday Manchester Airport service hourly calling all stations. 
    Improvements Kirkby – Wigan
    • A base level daily hourly service between 6.30am and 10.30pm, with a Monday to Saturday minimum half hourly service between 6.30am and 6.00pm.
    • Live train departure and running information to be available.
    • Comfortable fully sheltered waiting areas with legible up to date timetables and other useful information on display.
    • Toilets.
    • Security supervision to eliminate vandalism and protect rail users.
    • Good park and ride, bicycle and bus calling facilities.
    • Southport station to be comprehensively refurbished. [Has been achieved since publication.]
    • Fares to be reasonable, attractive, and locally coordinated, so that price anomalies no longer exist between local routes (for example the cost of mileage run in West Lancashire compared with Merseyside or Greater Manchester).
    • Combined tickets between different forms of transport.
    • Reopening Midge Hall station.
    • Restoration of the link between Ormskirk and Southport and Southport and Preston by reinstating the Burscough curves.
    • Jointed track to be replace with continuously welded rail.
    • Additional passing places between Ormskirk and Preston to provide greater flexibility. In future, double track between Ormskirk and Preston and Kirkby and Rainford.
    • A new station at Kew, Southport.
    • Restoration of a rail connection to Skelmersdale.
    • Restoration of through services between Liverpool and Preston, via Ormskirk, and Wigan via Kirkby.
    • Utilising the Aintree – Bootle link as a passenger branch line. 
    • Combination of Wigan Wallgate and North Western stations.
    • Bus and train services to connect, including waiting for arrival/departure.
    • Rail connections to the local and national network to be advertised and maintained, including waiting for arrival/departure.
    Rail freight
    • Developing opportunities for rail freight provision along West Lancashire lines including links to the Liverpool dock system.
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