Southport – Wigan – Manchester Trains. Are services to Piccadilly and Manchester Airport being axed? It seems so unless OPSTA and SRTF campaigners can stop it happening.

Departure board at Southport Station.

Departure board at Southport Station.

Below is the text of a leaflet/poster that is presently being distributed to travellers on Southport – Manchester trains by OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association) ans SRTF (Southport Rail Transport Forum) members.


It’s at this time of the year that you don’t want to be hanging around a platform waiting to change trains but that’s exactly what commuters travelling to Deansgate, Oxford Road or Manchester Piccadilly will face after December 2017 if we let rail planners have their own way.

OPSTA logo

OPSTA logo

The plans to axe direct services were revealed to SRTF and OPSTA by Merseytravel and Arriva Rail North in meetings held in the offices of local MPs John Pugh [Southport] and Rosie Cooper [West Lancashire] before Christmas and in January.

The decision to axe services flies in the face of evidence collected in surveys in late 2014 and again in 2015 to find out how the Manchester services [from Southport]were being used.

Key Findings from Passenger Survey Autumn 2015

Every weekday 1000 passengers take one of the morning commuter services towards Manchester from stations between Southport and Gathurst.

Over 70% will remain on the train until they reach one of the 5 city centre stations – Deansgate, Oxford Rd and Piccadilly on the ‘Piccadilly line’, Salford Central and Victoria on the ‘Victoria line’

There is an overall 60:40 split between those disembarking at Piccadilly versus Victoria line stations; it was exactly this split at Appley Bridge and an equal ratio at Gathurst (i.e. 1:1).

Are these proposals set in stone? We believe there is a short window of three or four months to mount a coordinated approach involving commuters, businesses and local authorities to get rail chiefs to rethink their plans and arrive at a solution which is customer based and not merely for the benefit of timetablers.

Our surveys have said how much you care about these services. Now you must play your part to save them. Please contact OPSTA by e-mail or SRTF via Facebook – addresses below – and we’ll send you information explaining how exactly you can make your voice heard. Time is of the essence. Success depends on presenting a coherent voice.


Southport Rail Transport Forum is working with
Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers’ Association (OPSTA)
for better trains and more efficient connections with Lancashire and Manchester.