NEW timetables have seen Bolton keep its services to Manchester but lose trains to other parts of the North-West.

Northern Rail has announced its timetables from May 20 and there is a reduction on some routes.

Direct trains from Bolton to Blackpool have been cut from three an hour to one an hour and the regular Manchester Airport service has been reduced from a basic one per hour from two per hour and Southport trains will no longer run direct through Bolton except for two each way in the morning and evening peak hours.

For four hours during peak times there will be two trains through Bolton to the airport with the additional service coming from Barrow.

Services to central Manchester will stay the same.

Bolton Rail Users Group said the reason in part for the changes is Northern is very short of trains because of the delays to electrification work and the airport services have been lost because of the shortage of paths along the line to the west of Manchester city centre.

BRUG has held meetings with Northern and TfGM to seek the retention of two airport services per hour.

Jeff Davies, chairman of Bolton Rail User Group, said:“Northern endeavoured to help Bolton but unfortunately without success, despite hard work on the part of their staff.

"We can thank them for at least maintaining our present number of trains to central Manchester, even if not to the airport."

It is now seeking more meetings with Northern ahead of the December timetables.

Liam Sumpter, regional director for Northern, said: "Unfortunately the big improvements to services that are much needed have had to be deferred due to the delays Network Rail have encountered in the delivery of the Bolton electrification project.

"Having said this, and bearing in mind that the late notification of delays to the project gave us very few options, customers in Bolton will still benefit from eight trains an hour into central Manchester during peak times and will retain strong links with Preston, Blackpool and Manchester Airport.

“It is, of course, disappointing that there has been a reduction in some direct services, but we have tried to develop the best possible timetables, given the circumstances, which still offer flexibility for customers and good connections via other stations such as Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.”