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.

OPSTA AGM 19th July

A very well attended meeting at the Hop Vine in Burscough with members and guests from the Burscough and Rufford Friends of Station groups; constructive discussions and some positive forward planning. 

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

Train Timetables will be updated on May 20th (please click the name below)


Southport & Kirkby-Manchester



Ormskirk Motorfest Sunday August 27th will see a rail service between Preston and Ormskirk

Click here for timetables and publicity.

If we get upwards of 400 passengers the train operator will be in the black. In the short term that means we should get more one off special services and for the longer term it helps justify our case that a full Sunday service will be viable.

Response to Southport – Manchester Services Proposed from May 2018

Grounded in a strong response to our most recent passenger surveys we have 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. Details of the special service for this year’s Ormskirk Motorfest are here and we continue to press for more.

OPSTA has 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.