Blackburn railway station
|Local authority||Blackburn with Darwen|
|Number of platforms||4|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Key dates||Opened 1846|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Blackburn from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
There has been a station on the current site since 1846, when the Blackburn and Preston Railway (a constituent company of the East Lancashire Railway) was opened - the contract to build the station having been awarded in November 1845. This route was extended eastwards to Accrington in March 1848 and subsequently through to Burnley and Colne by February 1849. Meanwhile, the Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe & West Yorkshire Railway had built a line through to Bolton from the town by 1848, but were refused permission to use the ELR station and had to open their own station at Bolton Road, a short distance south of the junction between the two. The Blackburn company subsequently extended their line northwards along the Ribble Valley to Clitheroe in 1851, but it was not until both railways had amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway that traffic was concentrated at the main station (the Bolton Road station closing in 1859).
The first of two major upgrades to the facilities came the following year, but the opening of the Lancashire Union Railway from St Helens Central and Wigan North Western in 1869, the Great Harwood Loop in 1877 and the extension of the Clitheroe line to Hellifield in 1880 to give the L&Y a through route to Scotland via the Settle-Carlisle Line led to significant increases in traffic that put the station under major strain. A fatal collision there that led to the deaths of 7 people in 1881 prompted the L&Y to make plans for another expansion & remodelling project, which was completed between 1886 & 1888. The new station had two island platforms, each with west-facing bays to give seven working faces in total plus an impressive two-bay overall roof. Destinations served included Liverpool Exchange via Ormskirk, Blackpool Central, Skipton, and Southport via the West Lancashire Railway in addition to those mentioned previously. Long distance through coaches to Scotland and London Euston (via Manchester Victoria, Denton and Stockport) also operated from here well into British Rail days.
The 1923 Grouping saw the station pass into the hands of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, but it wasn't until after nationalisation in 1948 that traffic and services began to decline. The Great Harwood line was the first to lose its passenger services in 1957, whilst the through coaches to London were 'temporarily' suspended in 1959 for electrification work to take place on the Crewe to Manchester route but never reinstated. The biggest losses came though in the 1960s - Wigan trains were withdrawn in January 1960, those to Hellifield in September 1962 and the Southport line & Blackpool Central station both fell victim to the Beeching Axe in 1964. By 1970, the through links to Skipton and Liverpool had also gone, leaving only the Manchester via Bolton & Colne to Preston lines along with a few seasonal trains between Leeds and Blackpool North via Hebden Bridge and the Copy Pit route to serve the station. Thus when the lines & station were resignalled in 1973 (control passing to the new power box at Preston as part of the WCML modernisation scheme), three of the station's seven platforms were closed and a fourth (the current platform 4) reduced in length and downgraded to emergency use only. The remaining trains could quite easily be accommodated on platforms 1-3 (the northernmost island of the two). This method of operation would remain until the station underwent its most recent major rebuild in 2000 (see below). The 1980s & 90s would though see a revival in service provision, with the reopening to regular passenger traffic of the Copy Pit line in 1984 (initially on a twice-daily trial basis with services funded by a local building society) and the Ribble Valley line to Clitheroe a decade later in 1994. The latter would be served as an extension of the existing route from Manchester via Bolton, whilst the former brought regular services to & from Blackpool, Leeds and York to the station for the first time in more than a decade.
The station is currently served by two lines. One line runs north–south. comprising the re-opened Ribble Valley Line from Clitheroe in the north and continuing through Blackburn towards Darwen, Bolton and terminating at Manchester Victoria.
The other line runs east–west and is served by trains from Blackpool and Preston in the west travelling to Burnley (Manchester Road and Central, Colne, (the East Lancashire Line), Leeds and as far as York in the east (the Caldervale Line).
The station was covered by twin train sheds, an architecturally detailed canopy that covered all platforms. In 2000, due to its decaying state it was removed, changing the nature of the station in a £35 million regeneration project. A new building was built on the main island platform. The Grade II listed original entrance built in the 1880s, including the station buffet and former booking hall, was retained and refurbished. A piece of public artwork by artist Stephen Charnock  was also erected at the edge of the platform, which consists of a stainless steel screen depicting Blackburn's industrial past and its more modern life today. The images include some of Blackburn's most famous and successful figures such as Carl Fogarty, Wayne Hemingway and Jack Walker. Platform 4, which had previously not been in timetabled use since the 1970s, was reopened for regular services as part of the work.
In 2003 a police station was opened in the upper floor of the old booking hall, to provide services in the town centre when the town's main police station was replaced by Greenbank police station in Whitebirk.
The station is well connected with public transport in Blackburn, with the Blackburn Boulevard bus station (recently closed and moved to the old market site) was situated directly in front of the station building. In 2016 a new interchange opened outside the station with frequent buses heading to the new bus station.
In April 2011, £1.7 million was raised for the construction of a canopy on platform 4 and a lift to the subway below. From the refurbishment of the station 10 years earlier, only bus style shelters had been provided with no lift access.
On 24 October 2011, the rebuild of platform 4 was completed, now boasting a roof matching the one on platforms 1 and 2, lift, heated waiting room and improved flooring.
New LED departure information display screens have also been installed.
On the Ribble Valley Line, there is generally an hourly service southbound to Manchester Victoria (half-hourly at peak times) and northbound to Clitheroe. An hourly service runs on Sundays, with one or two through Dalesrail trains to Carlisle in the summer. This service was extended, from mid-September, 2013, to cover Sundays throughout the remainder of the year - a pattern that continues as of March 2016 (though terminating at Hellifield, where connections are available for Carlisle). Additional services to/from Manchester Victoria and Clitheroe start or terminate here.
On the Caldervale Line, Monday to Saturdays there is an hourly Express service to Preston and Blackpool North westbound and to Bradford, Leeds and York eastbound. This also now runs hourly on Sundays during the summer since the May 2009 timetable change.
From 17 May 2015, direct services to Manchester Victoria through Accrington and Burnley were introduced with the reopening of the Todmorden Curve - these run on an hourly frequency (including Sundays) and serve most local stations south of Todmorden.
Platforms in use
The station has 4 platforms, the main platform (Platforms 1,2 & 3) includes a ticket office, waiting room, toilets and outdoor seating. The separate Platform 4 has a heated waiting room and outdoor seating. All three through platforms are bi-directional meaning any service can use any platform, however, most trains are booked on the following platforms:
|1||Ribble Valley Line||Clitheroe|
|1 or 2||Via Todmorden Curve||Manchester Victoria via Todmorden and Rochdale|
|2||Caldervale line||Express service to York|
|East Lancashire Line||Colne|
|3||West-facing bay platform used mainly for early morning trains to Manchester Victoria|
|4||East Lancashire Line||Preston and Blackpool South|
|Caldervale line||Express service to Blackpool North|
|Ribble Valley Line||Buxton, Bolton & Manchester Victoria|
The ticket office is staffed throughout the week (06:40-18:00 Mondays to Thursdays, 06:40-19:00 Fridays and Saturdays, 09:10-16:40 Sundays). A self-service ticket machine is available for use when the booking office is closed and for collecting pre-paid/advance purchase tickets.
There is also a Station Kiosk on the concourse at the front of the station where rail users can purchase refreshments.
- Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe and West Yorkshire Railway (L&YR)John Speller's Web Pages; Retrieved 2013-10-22
- "Accident at Blackburn on 8th August 1881"Railways Archive; Retrieved 3 March 2016
- Blackburn's Lost Railway StationsBlackburn Life; Retrieved 3 March 2016
- "Detailed Record: Blackburn Railway Station". Images of England. English Heritage. 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
- Scartworks redeveloping work on the station
- "New station offers safe haven in town". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. 2003-02-05. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
- BBC Lancashire news article on platform 4's canopy (8 April 2011)
- New Platform Facilities Arrive on Time Archived 31 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Table 94 National Rail timetable, December 2016
- GB eNRT December 2016 Edition, Table 97
- Northern Rail timetable 8: York - Blackpool 13 December 2015 - 14 May 2016 Northern Rail website; Retrieved 3 March 2016
- Northern Rail Timetable 36 Leeds to Manchester Victoria via Bradford Interchange/Dewsbury and Manchester to Blackburn 13 December 2015 - 14 May 2016Northern Rail; Retrieved 3 March 2016
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blackburn railway station.|
- Train times and station information for Blackburn railway station from National Rail
- Blackburn Railway Station Glazed Platform Canopy
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
East Lancashire Line
Caldervale Line (Sundays only)
|Church and Oswaldtwistle|
& Wilpshire or
Ribble Valley Line
Line open, station closed
|Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Line open, station closed
|Mill Hill||L&YR / LNWR joint
Lancashire Union Railway
|Terminus||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Great Harwood Loop
Line and station closed