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. 

If you find that we share common aims please join us or follow us here and on twitter @opsta15. Don't hesitate from contacting us with a query, suggestion or feedback.

Fare Collection - Rail users can assist by emailing their observations and experiences to opstafare@gmail.com.

Train Timetables from October 2017 (to follow)

Ormskirk-Preston times shown here are still correct and keep checking the rail websites for information on further Sunday services

Southport & Kirkby-Manchester with the operator forced to run under temporary and emergency timetables at present this link has been removed for the time being and you are advised to check the rail websites



Ormskirk Preston Sunday Services 22nd October

See here for full timetable and more information.

A good level of patronage and the feedback from passengers on their travel need all helps to justify a case that a full Sunday service will be viable. Follow on twitter @opsta15#trainit2gainit

After the success of the Motorfest service the next opportunity for Sunday services has been the temporary closure of Liverpool Lime Street during October. Network Rail had to be convinced to open our line at its cost as a contingency route for travellers going between Liverpool and Preston.

On 8th October OPSTA conducted passenger counts and journey census on all of the trains. Despite there being little advance notification of this special service it was well patronised with a significant number of passengers travelling from or to stations between Liverpool and Ormskirk, Burscough, Rufford, Croston and Preston and beyond.

We received strong and informative feedback on why this service should be permanent including the non-existence of public transport in many areas. The requirement for a rail service is for many reasons with notable demand from young people, students and those with disability; not everybody owns a car despite the number of vehicles clogging our roads in and through Ormskirk.

When all of the data has been analysed, a report will be published and discussed with Northern and our transport authorities.

The next service will run on 22nd October and is most likely to be the last one this year so please consider using the service on the day and promote it amongst your personal network of family and friends.

We are aiming to make this service as well patronised as possible because there is a case to prove.

Northern has indicated it expects to run a Sunday service for next year's Motorfest.

Southport – Manchester Services Proposed from May 2018

No further news at 16/10/17.

We were told to expect the final response in September but it seems the industry process for agreeing all timetable changes is proving to be very challenging and Northern has now indicated it will be the end of October before we hear back. Although the initial consideration of our response yielded limited improvements on the first offer, Northern agreed to consider further some of the priority issues.

Grounded in a strong response to our most recent passenger surveys we had submitted a response to the Northern consultation on its train service plan to operate from May next year when the major franchise changes are planned.

It seeks a number of realistic improvements to both Victoria and Piccadilly services. Read more about the survey or read the 4 page consultation response. Northern said it will consider an evidence based response to their consultation but this has been heavily qualified with commitments and constraints. 

Although there may be limited scope to getting any changes at this point, Northern is fully committed to working us on the business case for the additional trains that will enable them to offer more direct services between Piccadilly and Southport from October 2018. The survey results inform the case. 

Headlines on the proposed timetable and routing

Although there is no through service to Manchester Airport this is a change to the franchise bid that had no direct services to the south side of Manchester from Southport or Wigan via Bolton.

Monday-Saturday: there will be a direct service from Wigan North Western calling at Hindley, Westhoughton and Bolton to Manchester Piccadilly. Two of these services will start from Southport (departing 6.17 and 7.17) and go via Wigan Wallgate. In the evening the 17.15 and 18.15 departures from Piccadilly will run full line-of-route to Southport.

Deansgate: due to scheduling contention on the busy corridor to Piccadilly the calling pattern is under review for all of the above services.

All other Southport services will go to Victoria. There will be 2 trains per hour during the daytime.

Sunday: all services will go Victoria.

Ormskirk-Preston Services

Northern has confirmed it will increase Monday - Saturday services to 17 a day between Preston and Ormskirk thus delivering an hourly,  timetable from May 2018.

The first service will leave Preston at 06.26 then at the same time past each hour until 22.36. Duration of the southbound journey is 30 minutes.

The first service from Ormskirk will depart at 07.01 and then at the same time past each hour until 23.01. The north bound journey is scheduled to take 31 minutes.

The train for Ormskirk will be the unit that has arrived from Colne and the train to Preston will form a Blackpool South service. Although they may not be shown in the timetable as such, it will give us through services that should reduce journey times considerably for many passengers in one direction.

Still no Sunday service - we continue to press (see above for detail of one off services).

OPSTA consulted with Edge Hill University and Merseytravel before making our response to Northern’s consultation on the timetable changes proposed. Further feedback is welcome. Please e mail opstasurveys@gmail.com or use the contact details provided.