Atherton railway station
|Atherton railway station in 2010|
|Managed by||Northern Rail|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|1 July 1888||Station opens as Atherton Central|
|1954||Station renamed Atherton|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Atherton from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Atherton railway station serves the town of Atherton, Greater Manchester, England, and is the main station on the line between Wigan and Manchester on the Manchester to Southport Line, and according to Strategic Rail Authority figures is the busiest station on the line (excluding Wigan & Manchester; Salford Crescent is technically not on the line).
The station is located 11¾ miles (19 km) north west of Manchester Victoria with regular Northern Rail services to these towns as well as Salford, Swinton and Hindley, with onward trains to Kirkby and Southport.
Atherton is the nearest station to Leigh, one of the largest towns in Britain without its own railway station. The 582 bus service provides a frequent service to Leigh and Bolton, a connection not overly promoted by Transport for Greater Manchester.
Although it lies some distance from the centre of the town, the present Atherton station was originally named Atherton Central to differentiate it from Atherton Bag Lane (on the line from Bolton Great Moor Street to Kenyon Junction) which was closed in 1954 and Howe Bridge on the line between Wigan North Western and Manchester Exchange.
The station dates from 1888, when the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened a direct line between Windsor Bridge Junction and Crow Nest Junction (near Hindley) to shorten its main line between Manchester & Liverpool and avoid the congested Bolton area. It was well used from the beginning and was subsequently quadrupled shortly after the turn of the century, later carrying through expresses from Manchester to Blackpool, Windermere and Glasgow (again to avoid Bolton) in addition to Liverpool workings.
The cutbacks of the mid to late 1960s saw all the long distance services diverted via other routes, rendering the additional tracks obsolete and they were taken out of use on 21 November 1965 (the now-derelict outer platforms they served are still just visible). During the early to middle 1970s, the station had a sparse service outside weekday peak periods (see British Railways timetable 95, 1974) but in more recent times, the frequency levels have improved considerably with financial support from GMPTE, with a resultant increase in patronage.
When Sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s, the station was served by Regional Railways with support from the PTE, an arrangement that continued after the Privatisation of British Railways with co-operation from the current operating company.
Monday to Saturday daytimes, there are two departures each hour to Manchester Victoria (one of which continues through to Stalybridge) and two per hour towards Wigan Wallgate - these continue onwards to either Southport or Kirkby northbound.
In the evening there is an hourly service in each direction to Manchester Victoria and Wigan.
Recent timetables provide a convenient connection (although a platform change must be made which is not possible for wheelchair users) at Hindley for services to Bolton.
On 23 May 2010 a Sunday service was introduced as a 12-month trial by GMPTE, providing an hourly service until the early evening. Previously no trains had called at the station on Sundays since the summer of 1966. This service remains in operation in the current 2013-14 timetable.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199.
- Jowett, Alan (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 0-9068-9999-0. OCLC 228266687.
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. OCLC 22311137.
- Atherton station on navigable O.S. map
- New Sunday services for rail line
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atherton railway station.|
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Daisy Hill||Northern Rail
|Hag Fold||Northern Rail