Northern Line (Merseyrail)
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|Northern Line (Merseyrail)|
A Northern Line Class 507 at Liverpool Central.
North West England
|Rolling stock||British Rail Class 507
British Rail Class 508
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
|Operating speed||60 mph (97 km/h) maximum|
The Northern Line is one of the two commuter rail lines operated by Merseyrail in Merseyside, England, with the Wirral Line. A third line, the City Line, is not owned or operated by Merseyrail, although funded by Merseytravel.
The Northern Line passes underground through Liverpool city centre and has termini at:
The Northern Line operates from Hunts Cross near the south of Merseyside to the north at Southport, running underground through Liverpool's city centre. Off the northern section of the line there are branches to Kirkby and Ormskirk in Lancashire.
The line runs from Hunts Cross via the former Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) route towards Liverpool Central. Brunswick station between St Michaels and Liverpool Central was added in 1998 to provide a connection to the Brunswick Business Park. Just south of Liverpool Central, the line leaves the CLC route, in tunnel at that point, into a 1970s tunnel that drops to a lower level into the former underground Mersey Railway Liverpool Central (Low Level) station. North of Central the line uses the former Mersey Railway tunnel for about half of the route to Moorfields, an underground station built in the 1970s to replace the surface-level Liverpool Exchange. North of Moorfields the route emerges from the tunnel to join the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway lines from Exchange station.
After Sandhills, the former Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway branches off towards Southport, while the other routes continue to Kirkdale on what was a joint section of track between Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway and the Liverpool and Bury Railway. After Kirkdale, the Ormskirk and Kirkby lines diverge.
Trains from Hunts Cross continue to Southport, while trains to Ormskirk and Kirkby start at Liverpool Central. Daytime trains operate every 15 minutes on each of the three routes (Monday to Saturday) and every 30 minutes on Sundays, except in summer when Sunday frequencies on the Southport - Hunts Cross route are increased to every 15 minutes. On the same route, the frequency is every eight minutes during peak hours, when trains on the Southport - Hunts Cross and Ormskirk - Liverpool Central routes are increased to six carriages. Weekend services during the summer on the Southport route are six carriages all day.
- Liverpool Exchange Station to Southport, Crossens and Meols Cop was the first section to be electrified, in 1904.
- The branch to Aintree, on the Ormskirk branch, followed in 1906, extended to Ormskirk in 1913.
- The Kirkby branch and the line south to Garston were electrified to create north-south crossrail line coinciding with the construction of the Link Tunnel creating Merseyrail in 1978.
- Electrification was cut back to Southport in the north in 1964, though the conductor rail remained until 1970 to serve the large depot at Meols Cop.
- Garston to Hunts Cross was electrified in 1983.
Interchange with the Wirral Line is available at Liverpool Central and Moorfields. As the Northern Line does not pass through Liverpool Lime Street, passengers must use the Wirral Line as a connection. Given the short distance between Central and Lime Street, many with light luggage prefer to walk.
Interchange with other National Rail services can be made at Southport, Ormskirk, Kirkby, Liverpool South Parkway and Hunts Cross.
Former stations 
This list is incomplete. Apart from Garston, near South Parkway, all closures were prior to the formation of the Northern Line.
- Churchtown (Southport-Crossens branch)
- Crossens (Southport-Crossens branch)
- Ford (North Mersey Branch)
- Garston (Closed 10 June 2006; replaced by Liverpool South Parkway)
- Hesketh Park (Southport-Crossens branch)
- Linacre Road  (North Mersey Branch).
- Liverpool Exchange (1850-1977: Southport/Kirkby/Ormskirk branches) replaced by Moorfields underground station.
- Meols Cop (Still open, but no longer part of the Northern Line: Manchester and Southport Railway)
- Otterspool (Closed 1951)
- St James' (Closed 1917)
Passenger volume 
Passengers on the line and its branches from the year beginning April 2002 to the year beginning April 2010.
|Blundellsands and Crosby||296,685||457,346||518,823||561,676||599,071||1,839,920||1,717,962||1,735,882|
|Seaforth and Litherland||176,145||300,292||335,884||337,209||362,341||832,894||766,468||789,156|
|Bootle New Strand||345,451||415,685||404,558||348,458||405,802||977,696||909,922||931,806|
|Bootle Oriel Road||57,791||155,295||203,956||249,030||209,041||523,944||511,614||521,576|
|Kirkdale||See above||See above||See above||See above||See above||See above||See above||See above|
|Bank Hall\Kirkdale to Hunts Cross|
|Liverpool South Parkway||-||-||-||288,845||419,681||568,822||581,898||641,662|
The annual passenger usage is based on sales of tickets in stated financial years from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. The statistics are for passengers arriving and departing from each station and cover twelve month periods that start in April. Please note that methodology may vary year on year.
See also 
- "Merseyrail - About Merseyrail". Merseyrail. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "04 - Current Capability". Network Rail. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Merseyside Route Utilisation Strategy". Network Rail. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- "Track and Route mileage (1). Line-speeds (2) - London North Western (North)". Baseline Declaration. Network Rail. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- Merseyrail - A brief History, merseytravel.gov.uk, retrieved 2009-01-04
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