Southport MP encourages residents to write to Metro Mayors to protect town's direct rail link to Manchester

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  • Southport’s MP is calling on rail campaigners and local residents to keep up the pressure on the Manchester Recovery Task Force to protect and enhance rail services to the coastal seaside town.
  • A ‘Manchester Recovery Task Force’ made up of Department for Transport, TfN, Network Rail and train operators Northern and Transpenine Express is investigating what can be done to improve the performance of the rail network around Manchester and how it can be made more into a reliable service for users.
  • Under all three options would remove the town’s direct hourly-rail service to Manchester Piccadilly.
  • Damien Moore MP, Rosie Cooper MP, Lancashire County Council and local rail group OPSTA joined forces and wrote to the MRTF to object to the proposed consultation.
  • The Southport MP is encouraging rail passengers and campaigners to write to the Metro Mayors for Greater Manchester and Merseyside – who sit on TfN - to ensure they are aware of the town’s opposition to the proposed changes.

Southport’s Member of Parliament is calling on rail campaigners and local residents to keep up the pressure on the Manchester Recovery Task Force to protect and enhance rail services to the coastal seaside town.

The ‘Manchester Recovery Task Force’, which is leading the review, is working with the Department for Transport, TfN, Network Rail and train operators Northern and Transpenine Express.

The public consultation is aimed at investigating what can be done to improve the performance of the rail network around Manchester and how it can be made more into a reliable service for users.

Rail passengers are being presented with three options which include increasing levels of change from the service patterns that existed pre-Coronavirus. The three options affect different routes, and which routes have direct services to Manchester Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations, as well as Manchester airport.

However, the plans have come under criticism by all corners of Southport after all three options were revealed to remove the town’s direct hourly-rail service to Manchester Piccadilly, which rail campaigners – backed by the town’s MP – only just secured in a recent round of rail timetable changes.

In February of this year, Damien Moore MP, Rosie Cooper MP, Lancashire County Council and local rail group OPSTA joined forces and wrote to the MRTF to object to the proposed consultation, putting forward their own proposals that would ensure services to Southport remain unchanged.

Now, the Southport MP is encouraging rail passengers and campaigners to keep up the pressure on the Manchester Recovery Task Force by writing to the Metro Mayors for Greater Manchester and Merseyside to ensure they are aware of the town’s opposition to the proposed changes.

Damien Moore MP said:

“A number of constituents have contacted me following the proposed consultation by the Manchester Recovery Task Force to express their disappointment. They, and I, believe that these proposed changes would leave residents in Southport cut-off and excluded from greater social and economic opportunities.

“I have already written to the MRTF to object to the proposed rail changes on behalf of Southport constituents and I continue to represent and convey their views both in parliament and in meetings with stakeholders.

“Ultimately, however, this is a regional consultation now being driven by organisations such as TfN, Network Rail and train operators Northern and Transpenine Express who’s answer to Manchester’s rail woes is to inflict poorer rail services on Southport and those who live here.  

“Rail operators like Northern have got form in producing poor timetable changes that have an adverse impact on people living in Southport and too often, residents have had to make repeated representations to maintain their rail services and this consultation is no different.

“We’ve got a real battle on our hands to protect this vital service. That’s why I would encourage residents living and working in Southport to continue to make the case for this important rail service.”

The Southport MP also responded to an interview given in the Rail Technology Magazine by the Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in which the Mayor welcomed the consultation, which would see Southport’s direct hourly service to Manchester Piccadilly scrapped under all three proposed options.

Responding to the interview, Damien Moore MP said:

“I am unclear as to whether Andy [Burnham] was welcoming the proposed changes that would remove my constituents direct rail link to Manchester Piccadilly or if he was simply welcoming the consultation.

“Either way, I would encourage residents who are concerned to write to him - and to our Metro Mayor for Merseyside, Steve Rotheram - in opposition to these proposed changes to ensure they’re aware of our town’s frustration.    

“As Board Members of TfN – and key stakeholders in the MRTF - both mayors will ultimately have more influence on the outcome of this consultation, and we must make it clear that none of the three options put forward represent a good deal for Southport residents.”