Earlestown railway station

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Earlestown National Rail
Footbridge, Earlestown railway station (geograph 3818742).jpg
Earlestown station buildings viewed from platform 1
Place Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows
Local authority St Helens
Coordinates 53°27′04″N 2°38′17″W / 53.451°N 2.638°W / 53.451; -2.638Coordinates: 53°27′04″N 2°38′17″W / 53.451°N 2.638°W / 53.451; -2.638
Grid reference SJ578951
Station code ERL
Managed by Northern Rail
Number of platforms 5
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05   0.220 million
2005/06 Decrease 0.219 million
2006/07 Decrease 0.218 million
2007/08 Increase 0.226 million
2008/09 Increase 0.395 million
2009/10 Decrease 0.394 million
2010/11 Increase 0.418 million
2011/12 Increase 0.444 million
2012/13 Decrease 0.424 million
2013/14 Increase 0.485 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone A1
Original company Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Pre-grouping London and North Western Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
15 September 1830 Opened as Newton Junction
July 1852 Renamed Warrington Junction
November 1861 Renamed Earlestown Junction
5 June 1950 Renamed Earlestown
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Earlestown from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Earlestown railway station is a railway station in Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside, England. Since recent restoration of a platform for Warrington Bank Quay to Liverpool trains, it is one of the few "triangular" stations in Britain (see below).

Early history[edit]

The station lies on the former Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which was opened on 15 September 1830. On 25 July 1831 the Warrington and Newton Railway was opened for public use, making a junction at a point in the township of Newton, facing in the direction of Liverpool.

The surviving Earlestown station buildings were constructed around 1835 on the original site, at the point of intersection of these two early railways, incidentally forming the first steam railway junction, which was given the name Newton Junction.

The junction had a very tight curvature and this caused problems. Train travelling on the curves were restricted to a slow maximum speed. The original building now forms the (currently unused) waiting room of Earlestown Station.

The Grand Junction Railway (GJR) absorbed the Warrington and Newton company as of 31 December 1834 and from the GJR's completion of their trunk line from Birmingham on 4 July 1837 used it to access the Liverpool and Manchester line. A new "Curve" was built at Newton Junction so that trains could run towards Manchester; this gave the station a triangular formation with six platforms. To complicate matters, there was also a branch line from Richard Evans's collieries at Haydock which had a curve to join the L & M in the Manchester direction and passed through the triangle to join the Warrington and Newton line.

The method of operation involved the despatch of a Grand Junction train from both Liverpool and Manchester to meet at Earlestown. These were joined together and continued as one train to Birmingham. Both portions conveyed through carriages after 1839 to London The Grand Junction trains arriving from Birmingham were usually split at Warrington (Bank Quay) and passed through Earlestown as separate Liverpool and Manchester trains.

An area between the station and the "Nine Arches" viaduct was selected in 1833 by Messrs Jones, Turner and Evans as the site of their Viaduct Locomotive Works. In 1853, the London and North Western Railway took a lease on the premises and thus established the company's carriage and wagon works, and the area developed into something of a 'company town' which, after the construction of company houses, was given the nickname "Earle's Town" after James Hardman Earle, a director of the company and its predecessors, the Liverpool & Manchester and Grand Junction Railways. The name has stuck, despite it being corrupted to its present version and never having been an actual town.

Later history[edit]

The London and North Western Railway later operated their main line service to the Scottish border by way of Earlestown and Parkside, utilising a short section of the old Liverpool and Manchester line. This inconvenient routing was eliminated by the construction of the Golborne cut-off, a direct connection avoiding Earlestown. The original route, on the eastern section of the triangle, was electrified at 25kV as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification, since it was then used by a few trains stopping at Earlestown.

In the Beeching Report of 1963, Earlestown was listed as one of the stations to be closed, but it remained open along with other stations between Liverpool and Manchester that had also been listed such as Huyton and Edge Hill. However, direct trains to St Helens Shaw Street via St Helens Junction were withdrawn in 1964.

The remaining parts of the station were electrified as part of the North West electrification, which was announced in July 2009. This project saw the original West Coast Main Line electrification joined to the Manchester to Liverpool electrification at the east and south sides of Earlestown station. This electrification work was completed in February 2015.

At present, there are frequent services to Liverpool (Lime Street), Manchester (Victoria and Piccadilly), Warrington (Bank Quay), Chester and then via the North Wales Coast Line to Llandudno.

Scheduled electrically operated passenger services will commence from the station during February or March 2015, when the Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Airport service converts from diesel to electric traction, previously, despite the long standing electrification of part of the station, no electrically operated passenger services were scheduled to call at the Earlestown.

Historical status[edit]

The Manchester and Liverpool Railway at Newton, by Charles Calvert

The triangular track layout at Earlestown represents the oldest junction in the world between two passenger railways, in the form of the first "stationary turntable" or wye ever constructed. Nearby on the line towards Liverpool is the Sankey Viaduct, the first mainline railway viaduct. It crosses the Sankey Canal, which is claimed to be the world's first purpose-built industrial waterway.

The waiting room on the Liverpool-bound platform is the oldest station building in the world still in passenger service, although this is now limited to providing shelter from the rain under its canopy. The building is currently derelict, with tickets being sold in a more recent structure.


Passengers for Holyhead or Wrexham (for connections to south Wales and Birmingham) must change at Chester, though there is one daily through train to and from Bangor in the current (May - December 2013) timetable.


See also[edit]


  • 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. 
  • Liverpool & Manchester Railway 1830-1980, Frank Ferneyhough, Book Club Associates, 1980, (no ISBN)
  • Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0049-7. OCLC 19514063. 
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Warrington Bank Quay   Arriva Trains Wales
Chester to Manchester Line
St Helens Junction   Northern Rail
Liverpool to Manchester Line
(Warrington spur)
  Warrington Bank Quay
St Helens Junction   Northern Rail
Liverpool to Manchester Line
(Northern route)

External links[edit]