Train operator restores important hourly service to Manchester stations running through Wigan

A Northern train
A Northern train

A train operator is restoring an important public transport link between Wigan and parts of Manchester city centre following a storm of protest from unhappy commuters.

Northern's new December timetable confirms there will once again be trains every hour linking Wigan Wallgate with Manchester Piccadilly and other stations on that branch of the network from morning until evening six days a week.

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Passengers, with the help of local MPs, have waged years of battles to get Northern to overturn its decision to axe the service which starts in Southport, which left many Wigan commuters having to change at Salford Crescent every day or walk from Manchester Victoria.

There is also one train an hour from Southport to Victoria via Wigan Wallgate throughout the day and an hourly service to Victoria on the Kirkby and Wigan line included in the new timetable.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who has led the campaigning to reinstate the Piccadilly service, hailed a significant success for the campaign but slammed the "chaos" rail travellers have had to put up with.

Ms Nandy said: "It has taken three years of campaigning and countless meetings to win this important victory, but at last Northern have confirmed that Wigan commuters will not lose our vital, hourly service to the south side of Manchester.

“When they signed the franchise Ministers agreed, in secret, that Wigan residents would lose out so that better services could be provided on other routes. This was completely

unacceptable. After the chaos of the last 12 months this is some welcome news at last.

“Together we have shown that we will not accept an inferior service. Northern customers have put up with an overcrowded and unreliable service for too long.

"In the future I hope Northern and the Government will listen to us as we continue to press for fairer funding and a better service on our trains.”

Ms Nandy thanked Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue, West Lancashire parliamentary representative Rosie Cooper, councillors in Aspull New Springs Whelley ward and the Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers' Association (Opsta) for their support.

Thousands of Wigan rail travellers also got involved by signing petitions and publicising the problems with the lack of services to Piccadilly.