Rail travellers who commute from Southport, Burscough, Parbold and other stations along the line through West Lancs are concerned about the proposal to push all Southport trains into Manchester Victoria as opposed to the present situation where some go through to Manchester Piccadilly. OPSTA [Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association] have been lobbying over this for some time now and below is an update from their September Connexions Magazine.
The campaign continues in concert with the Southport Rail Transport Forum to press for the best we can get with the new franchise and to retain direct links from Southport to both Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly. More recent responses to lobbying suggest the routing of all services to/ through Victoria may not be the fait accompli we were once led to believe and the right campaign may result in us retaining both Manchester routes.
Until we are sighted on what the preferred bidder proposes – December at the earliest – and we have a realistic time frame for the Northern Hub our efforts will focus on gathering the evidence with another platform survey targeted for this autumn. We mobilised in large numbers last year and achieved an impressive 75% sample on the stations attended; this time we intend to cover Gathurst too.
We have recently briefed all 3 MPs whose constituencies are on the line between Southport and Wigan.
And pleasingly TfGM [Transport for Greater Manchester] has invited OPSTA to participate in an exercise to consider future timetable requirements, aspirations and opportunities with our submission to be made as this newsletter goes to print.