Birkenhead Park railway station
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Birkenhead Park from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
The name of the station comes from nearby Birkenhead Park, one of the UK's first Victorian municipal parks. In 1850 its layout - created by Joseph Paxton - had a profound influence on visiting American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Eight years later he took inspiration from Birkenhead Park (and other green spaces like Derby Arboretum) to win a competition to design New York's new city park.
The station was opened on 2 January 1888, as a joint station between the Seacombe, Hoylake and Deeside Railway and the Mersey Railway. It replaced the Wirral Railway's original terminus at Wallasey Bridge Road (close to the present-day Birkenhead North station), becoming an interchange between their line to West Kirby and the Mersey Railway's new line to central Liverpool. On the same day, the Wirral Railway's new line to Wallasey Grove Road opened, which was extended to New Brighton later that year.
From its opening the station had two island platforms, to facilitate across-platform transfer between the Mersey Railway and the Wirral Railway. The northern pair of tracks were used exclusively by Mersey Railway trains. The centre and southern pairs of tracks were available to the Wirral Railway.
Mersey Railway electrification
There was also a small Mersey Railway electric car shed at the eastern end of the station, on the northern side of the line, which held two 6-car trains. This was built on the level, with the tracks towards the tunnel to Liverpool dropping steeply alongside. The car shed was removed in the 1970s.
On 6 December 1922 an accident occurred at the station, at around 4pm, between two trains of the Wirral Railway. The train heading to West Kirby, which was late, was leaving the station and collided with a train from West Kirby. There was one fatality and eight other passengers sustained serious injuries, with a further 36 people suffering from shock. This was the only fatal passenger accident to occur on the Wirral Railway.
Between 1936 and 1938, the lines from Birkenhead Park to West Kirby and New Brighton were modified and electrified using a 650v DC third rail system, by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and to facilitate through operation to Liverpool Central. The LMS electric trains were brought into passenger service on 14 March 1938. The need to change at Birkenhead Park was removed. It was normal for the new LMS trains to operate the Liverpool to West Kirby route, and the older Mersey Railway trains to operate the Liverpool to New Brighton route.
From the 1938 electrification of the Wirral lines, and the integration of both services, the additional facilities beyond a simple two-track through station became unnecessary. Despite which, the layout retained all four platforms, two in each direction, until the 1970s.
World War II bombing
The station building is not the original. The first station building was destroyed when two land mines fell on the night of 12-13 March 1941, during the Second World War. After the bombing, through services were restored in five days and the station was reopened to passengers after eleven days.
The outer platform faces were hardly used, apart from a handful of trains which were stored outside of peak hours in the sidings which remained at all four corners of the station, and outside the island platforms. In the 1970s, there were a number of rationalisations to the layout. At one stage, through trains used the outer tracks of the station, while a bay platform was fashioned between these to allow a proposed Liverpool to Birkenhead Park extra peak hour shuttle service, which in the event was never started. The layout was then simplified again to the current one, retaining the former southern island platform with just a through road either side, with the former northern platform demolished and now heavily overgrown.
The station is staffed, during all opening hours, and has platform CCTV. The island platform has a waiting shelter. There is a payphone, booking office and live departure and arrival screens, for passenger information. Being easy for pedestrian access, the station doesn't have a car park. Wheelchair and pram access to the platform is possible, and also relatively easy, via the ramp-staircase. Though, as yet, platform access has not been modernised to the standard of that at Hooton.
Facilities nearby include a convenience store, post office, and several fast food restaurants. Bus services run along the road, outside the station, and along Park Road (100m towards the park).
Trains operate every 15 minutes (Monday to Saturday daytime) to New Brighton and West Kirby and every 5–10 minutes via Hamilton Square and the Mersey Railway Tunnel to Liverpool. At other times, trains run every 30 minutes to New Brighton and West Kirby, and every 15 minutes to Liverpool. These services are all provided by Merseyrail's fleet of Class 507 and Class 508 EMUs.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 102-103. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Gahan, John W. (1983). The Line Beneath the Liners: A hundred years of Mersey Railway sights and sounds. Birkenhead: Countryvise Ltd. ISBN 978-0-907-76840-1.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Railway Stations Of Wirral, Merseyside Railway History Group, ISBN 1-899241-02-7
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 177-178. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Maund, T.B. (2009). The Wirral Railway and its Predecessors. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-1-899-88938-9.
- Station Facilities for Birkenhead Park Accessed 2013-12-18
- "Wirral Line timetable". Merseyrail. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
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- Station information for Birkenhead Park railway station from Merseyrail
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