Blackpool North railway station

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Blackpool North National Rail
Blackpool North entrance - DSC06505.JPG
Blackpool North railway station entrance
Location
PlaceBlackpool
Local authorityBlackpool
Coordinates53°49′18″N 3°02′57″W / 53.8218°N 3.0493°W / 53.8218; -3.0493Coordinates: 53°49′18″N 3°02′57″W / 53.8218°N 3.0493°W / 53.8218; -3.0493
Grid referenceSD310366
Operations
Station codeBPN
Managed byNorthern
Number of platforms6
DfT categoryC1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Decrease 1.653 million
2014/15Increase 1.758 million
2015/16Increase 1.764 million
2016/17Increase 1.858 million
2017/18Decrease 1.578 million
History
Original companyPreston and Wyre Joint Railway
Pre-groupingLYR and LNWR joint
Post-groupingLondon Midland and Scottish Railway
29 April 1846Opened as Blackpool[1]
1872Renamed Blackpool Talbot Road[1]
1898Rebuilt[2]
17 March 1932Renamed Blackpool North[1]
1974Rebuilt on site of former excursion platforms
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Blackpool North from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Blackpool North railway station is the main station serving the seaside resort of Blackpool in Lancashire, England. It is the terminus of the main Blackpool branch line and is 17 12 miles (28 km) northwest of Preston.

The station was opened in its present form in 1974, and succeeded a previous station a few hundred yards away on Talbot Road which had first opened in 1846 and had been rebuilt in 1898. The present station is based on the 1938 concrete canopy which covered the entrance to the former excursion platforms of the old station. Blackpool's other station, Blackpool South, is situated in the south of the town, with services towards Preston and Colne, and does not connect to Blackpool North.

Blackpool North has regular services to Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Wigan, Preston, Blackburn, Leeds and York. There are four intercity trains a day to London Euston (with plans to increase this to five from 2020). There is one train per week Sunday Only to Carlisle via the Ribble Valley and the Settle-Carlisle Line during the Summer timetable.

History[edit]

The first station opened on 29 April 1846 as Blackpool, renamed Blackpool Talbot Road in 1872, and was first rebuilt in 1898. The rebuilt station consisted of two parallel train sheds and a terminal building, in Dickson Road between Talbot Road and Queen Street. Platforms 1 to 6 were located in the sheds, with a larger island between platforms 1 and 2 to accommodate taxis. In addition, there was effectively, in all but name, a separate station at the east end of Queen Street, with open "excursion" platforms 7 to 16, used only in summer.[3]

The station was recommended for closure in the Beeching Report (1963), but following lobbying by Blackpool Corporation it was Blackpool Central—Blackpool's other centrally-located station, but whose site was better-suited for re-development—which closed in 1964.

The main station buildings, train shed and platforms were decommissioned and demolished in 1974, and the 1938 excursion platform canopy building was refurbished to become the new main station.

Electrification[edit]

In November 2010, it was announced that the lines between Preston and Blackpool would be electrified, along with the line between Manchester and Preston.[4] This resulted in the semaphore signalling at the station being replaced by modern colour lights controlled from the WCML North Rail Operating Centre in Manchester and the station track and platform layout being altered, with the eight curved platforms reduced to six and on a straighter alignment than previously. The project was due for completion by May 2016,[5] with the line onwards to Manchester following by the end of the year. This was subsequently pushed back twice - first to March 2017 and then again to early 2018 (after contractors Balfour Beatty pulled out), so that the track remodelling and re-signalling work could be carried out at the same time as the wiring, reducing disruption to passengers (as only one period of closure would be required).[6][7]

The remodelling required the station to be completely closed for a significant period of time (up to 18 weeks according to Network Rail),[8] with additional weekend and evening blocks before and after. Replacement buses to Preston operated during the closure. The station was closed until 16 April 2018 for the work to take place.[9] A major rebuild and upgrade of the nearby carriage servicing depot was carried out at the same time.

Facilities[edit]

The station is staffed and open for 24 hours a day, and is equipped with payphones, vending machines, toilets and indoor seating,[10] as well as a customer service office and a booking office.[11] Step-free access to the station and platform is available for passengers with wheelchairs or prams, and portable ramps are also available for platform-to-train access.[10] The station has its own covered concourse and, adjoining the concourse, it has a Pumpkin cafe, as well as a Point shop to Go convenience store.[11] The station also has a 30-space car park,[10] and adjoining bus connections, which can also accommodate Plusbus ticket holders.[12]

As Blackpool is a popular tourist resort, with its Pleasure Beach and beaches, there are many measures put in to prevent fare evasion, including automated barrier checks,[13] as well as the conductors on the trains.

The station is approximately half-a-mile along Talbot Road from the Blackpool tramway, which is to be extended to the station in 2018/19 as part of a new transport interchange.[14]

A panorama of the interior of Blackpool North station

Services[edit]

A Northern Class 319 EMU at Blackpool North in 2018. Blackpool Tower is in the background.

The station is served by Northern and Avanti West Coast.[15]

In May 2019, Northern services to York on weekdays resumed, a new summer Sunday service to Carlisle, known as DalesRail, returned and Manchester Piccadilly terminators were extended to Hazel Grove.[16][17][18]

Former Services[edit]

First TransPennine Express used to run the service to Manchester Airport, but it was passed on to the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016. Virgin CrossCountry used to run up to eight services per day to Blackpool North from Portsmouth Harbour, Brighton and London Paddington.[19][20] The services were introduced by Virgin to increase the frequency of the CrossCountry trains and were introduced in 2000. They were withdrawn in summer 2003 by the Strategic Rail Authority to improve the general punctuality of train services.[21] First North Western used to operate a Monday-Saturday boat train to/from Holyhead (which attached to a portion from Stockport) until 2003 and briefly operated a service between Blackpool and London Euston.[22][23] Northern services to Leeds and York on weekdays were temporarily withdrawn prior to the start of electrification work in November 2017, but resumed in May 2019. Weekday Manchester Victoria services also ended prior to the start of electrification work in 2017 and although the route is now completely wired, direct services only now run on Sundays - passengers wishing to reach there at all other times have to change trains at one of Preston, Bolton or Salford Crescent.

Intercity services[edit]

Blackpool North was on the InterCity network until 2003 when Virgin Trains West Coast and Virgin CrossCountry withdrew High Speed Train and Voyager services to London Euston and Birmingham.[24] Former local franchise holder First North Western ran services from Blackpool to London Euston, but these were soon discontinued. However, in the December 2014 timetable change, Virgin reintroduced direct services to/from London Euston albeit only on weekdays and only one each way a day. As of May 2018, there are four trains a day to/from London Euston.

Future services[edit]

In 2015, Alliance Rail Holdings was awarded the right to begin running six regular daily passenger services between Blackpool and London, to be operated by open access operator Grand Central using specially built Class 390 EMUs. However, the company was unable to obtain the relevant permissions to use this type of rolling stock, and so allowed its access rights to lapse in June 2017.[25] Alliance announced at the same time its intention to reapply for track access, using redundant InterCity 225 sets to start in 2019.[25][26] In June 2018, the Office of Rail & Road approved an application for five direct services per day from Blackpool North to London Euston calling at: Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham & Wesham, Preston, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes Central.[27][28] However, in June 2019, it was announced the service would begin in Spring 2020 and would be operated by sister company, Grand Central.[29] On the same day the company revealed its timetable for its new Blackpool North to London Euston.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 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. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  2. ^ Hartley, S. and Mitchell, L. (2005) "Lancashire Historic Town Survey—Blackpool" (PDF).[permanent dead link] (25.5 MiB), Lancashire County Council Environment Directorate, accessed 30 October 2007, p.23
  3. ^ Taylor, Stuart (2005). Kirkham to Blackpool (North) and Fleetwood for the Isle of Man. Bredbury: Foxline. pp. 51–52, 56, 59, 75–76. ISBN 1-870119-74-6.
  4. ^ "Railways to get £8bn investment". BBC News. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  5. ^ Network Rail - Electrification in the North West Network Rail website; Retrieved 2013-08-28
  6. ^ "Electrification to be shunted back into 2017'Blackpool Gazette news article 21-06-2014; Retrieved 0 September 2014
  7. ^ "Railway all set to get back on track by 2018"Lancashire Evening Post 26 January 2016; Retrieved 6 June 2016
  8. ^ "Rail line to close for up to 18 weeks" Stocks, Rob Blackpool Gazette 6 July 2016; Retrieved 16 August 2016
  9. ^ "North West Electrification - Preston to Blackpool North" Network Rail news article; Retrieved 15 September 2017
  10. ^ a b c "Blackpool North (BPN)". National Rail. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Blackpool North Station Plan". National Rail. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Blackpool North". Plusbus. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Blackpool station set for £600,000 first". Blackpool Gazette. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  14. ^ "Tramway terminal centre of Talbot Gateway phase two". www.blackpool.gov.uk.
  15. ^ GB National Rail Timetable May 2019 Edition, Tables 41, 65, 82 and 97
  16. ^ DalesRail timetable
  17. ^ Northern route 9 timetable May 2019
  18. ^ Northern route 27 timetable May 2019
  19. ^ 2002 Virgin Trains route map
  20. ^ "Service will not be back on track". Blackpool Gazette. 27 May 2003. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  21. ^ "Select Committee on Transport Fourth Report". UK Parliament. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  22. ^ Blackpool, Blackpool South Location Place South Shore Local authority (7 March 2009). "Train Stations".
  23. ^ "New Blackpool-London services to start this May" Rail issue 322 14 January 1998 page 10
  24. ^ "Service will not be back on track". Blackpool Gazette. 27 May 2003. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  25. ^ a b Alliance drops Pendolino plan as Southampton paths identified Railway Gazette International 19 July 2017
  26. ^ "Alliance Rail Holdings: Projects".
  27. ^ "Application for a new track access contract for services between London Euston and Blackpool North" (PDF). Office of Rail and Road. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  28. ^ "NEW BLACKPOOL TO LONDON RAIL SERVICES APPROVED". Alliance Rail Holdings. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  29. ^ Grand Central plans new Blackpool to London route from 2020 in major boost for the local economy grandcentralrail.com; 24 June 2019
  30. ^ London to Blackpool grandcentralrail.com; 24 June 2019

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Terminus   Northern
Blackpool Branch Line
  Layton
Terminus   Northern
Liverpool to Wigan line
Preston to Manchester line

  Poulton-le-Fylde
Terminus   Northern
Calder Valley line
  Poulton-le-Fylde
Terminus   Avanti West Coast
WCML Blackpool Branch
  Preston or
Poulton-le-Fylde
  Future Services  
Terminus   Northern Connect
Blackpool North - Manchester Airport
  Preston
Terminus   Northern Connect
Blackpool North - York
  Preston
Terminus   Grand Central
WCML Blackpool to London
  Poulton-le-Fylde
Disused railways
Terminus   Preston and Wyre Joint Railway
Blackpool Branch Line
  Bispham