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.

Next OPSTA General Meeting will be held at 19.30 21st March at the Hop Vine in Burscough (upstairs function room). More details to follow.

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

Train Timetables from May 2018 (to follow - see update centre panel)

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



Services Proposed from May 2018 

Northern had stated it would give us the detail on March 8th but probably no surprise to anyone there will be a further delay and Northern will not be announcing their May 18 timetable plans until w/c 19th March.

Network Rail has made this announcement on when they expect to publicise the new timetables - http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/184755.aspx

To comply with its 12 week change management process Network Rail should have signed off and published the May timetable changes by February 25th but as reported nationally it will only give a few weeks’ notice on what will be the largest set of linked service changes this region has seen in decades.

What follows is the latest evidence based view of the situation but it is not definitive. In short Northern, as a consequence of delays in electrification, claims it has ripped up its previous timetable bid and started again but the indicators are that it is trying to stick with that original plan, which means:

Preston - Ormskirk

We are cautiously optimistic that we will get the hourly service.

Southport – Manchester

OPSTA’s stated position: "Without electrification or bi mode trains in 2018 all services between Wigan/ Bolton and Piccadilly will use diesel traction which means there is no reason to withdraw our services this year."

But the evidence we have indicates, our Southport – Airport service is most likely to be replaced with a Stalybridge – Wigan – Alderley Edge service pattern that at best would have just two morning services from Southport to Alderley Edge via Piccadilly and two return services in the evening.

We cannot be more definite because Northern will not engage in discussions and will not make a simple and clear statement of its intentions for our services from May. When put to them directly Northern would not deny it is pursuing the above service change. When challenged over Network Rail provisional timetables (available publicly on the open times website) showing our services re-routed to Victoria from May with two morning peak trains to Piccadilly and just one evening return not two as proposed, Northern initially said it was a work-in-progress.

When normally reliable sources said that many services including ours would likely be continued (“rolled over”) after May, Northern bluntly replied this was “not entirely correct”.

Northern’s latest formal statement says it expects to have the detail by March 8th and will brief but not consult us at that point.

That would be a fait accompli and we are not prepared to accept this situation.

Nor are our MPs prepared to do so and we anticipate they will shortly agree a course of action.

The business case justifying a longer term solution which also includes some improvement to Victoria services has been sent to the Secretary of State for Transport (this is the brief he received when he visited Southport in January).

There is a real risk, however, that once we lose the service it will be gone forever.

This is why the campaign team is taking action which includes sending a letter directly to the CEO of Deutsche Bahn, the owners of Arriva Rail North (Northern). 

We are also considering a number of other courses of action. If you have suggestions, comments or other feedback please contact us.