Ormskirk, Preston and Southport
the user group for West Lancashire's railways
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What we do
Ormskirk-Preston passenger survey
Fare collection review
Great Days Out
for the retention, improvement and development of West Lancashire's railways. By lobbying at local and national level, OPSTA has played a signifcant role in ensuring that West Lancashire still has direct rail links north to south and east to west.
The Association was founded by a group of like-minded concerned individuals, who worried that a valuable asset - the railway between Ormskirk and Preston line - was destined for closure. It suffered from an infrequent and unreliable service attracting the bare minimum of support. The timetable was a wreck, with trains missing though failure, benfitting only the local driving schools as passengers abandoned the line for the A59. By rallying rail users and local bodies to the cause, OPSTA was formed (as OPTA) and began to apply pressure through correspondence, publicity, affiliation with other groups and local public meetings for the retention and improvement of the train service. The line survived. Subsequently, we have also campaigned on behalf of the Southport-Manchester line. Plans for a single line operation were thwarted by lobbying with help from many quarters.
West Lancashire's railways provide vital commuter routes between the major conurbations of Southport, Wigan and Manchester, and between the communities of West Lancashire and the cities of Preston in the north and Liverpool, via Ormskirk, in the south, as well as leisure and business access to the national network at Preston, Liverpool, Wigan and Manchester.
OPSTA exists to ensure those links are maintained and improved.
Before the Beeching cuts, the Ormskirk and Preston, and Southport and Manchester lines were joined at Burscough, enabling direct travel between Ormskirk and Southport, and Southport and Preston. A relatively low cost project could restore that flexibility and add valuable options to direct travel across West Lancashire. OPSTA has long campaigned for such a scheme.
A more immediate low-cost project that OPSTA is promoting is to electrify the line north of Ormskirk, initially to Burscough, as the first stage of a development that would see the restoration of Ormskirk-Southport-Preston links.
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