Blackrod railway station

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Blackrod National Rail
Blackrod Station Platform.jpg
Local authorityBolton
Coordinates53°35′28″N 2°34′12″W / 53.591°N 2.570°W / 53.591; -2.570Coordinates: 53°35′28″N 2°34′12″W / 53.591°N 2.570°W / 53.591; -2.570
Grid referenceSD623106
Station codeBLK
Managed byNorthern
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryF1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Decrease 0.545 million
2015/16Increase 0.596 million
2016/17Increase 0.609 million
2017/18Decrease 0.550 million
2018/19Increase 0.564 million
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Blackrod from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Blackrod railway station serves the village of Blackrod, England, 6.5 miles (10 km ) north west of Bolton railway station. It is just 1 14 miles (2.0 km) from the town centre of Horwich - closer than Horwich Parkway station.

It lies on the Manchester-Preston Line and is served by Northern, who run local stopping trains between Manchester Victoria and Blackpool North. Manchester Airport & Hazel Grove to Blackpool North expresses also serve the station at peak times. Despite its high passenger usage and the recent refurbishment (see below) the station is currently unstaffed. A drop in passenger usage in the year 2017/18 is largely due to industrial action and engineering works.


The station was opened on 4 February 1841 as Horwich Road by the Manchester and Bolton Railway. It was renamed Horwich and Blackrod, then Horwich Junction, then Horwich and Blackrod junction, finally Blackrod in 1888 [1]

Blackrod was once the junction for a short branch to serve the original Horwich station (closed to passengers on 27 September 1965[2]) and Horwich Locomotive Works (sold in 1988, after which the line was closed and lifted). Until the 1980s, Blackrod had a poor frequency of service,[3] but for many years it has been a popular commuter station.

Technical Railway Information[edit]

The station had until recently a signal box, the only one on the entire Manchester to Preston route. This had outlasted the others as it acted as the 'fringe' to both the Manchester Piccadilly signalling centre and Preston PSB. The train description system used in the Preston installation was incompatible with that installed at Piccadilly[4] so the signaller at Blackrod had to transfer train data manually from one system to the other as each one passed through his/her control area. A similar situation existed at Bromley Cross on the Bolton to Blackburn line, where the two control areas also overlap.[5]
Network Rail announced in May 2012 that the box was due to be abolished in January 2013, with control passing to the Piccadilly signalling centre. This is part of a programme of signalling renewals associated with the planned electrification of the Manchester to Preston line (due for completion in 2016). The box was duly decommissioned on 10 February 2013 and subsequently demolished.[6]

Blackrod in 1962

2012 Refurbishment[edit]

Over one million pounds' worth of improvements to the station (including the removal of the footbridge shown in the photo and its replacement with step-free access ramps) were completed in November 2012.[7]


There is currently an hourly daytime service (including Sundays) to Manchester Victoria southbound and to Preston northbound.[8]

Through services to Blackpool North northbound and to Manchester Piccadilly and beyond call only at peak periods and in the evenings, when the Manchester Victoria service doesn't operate. On Sundays, there is an hourly all-day service to Blackpool and Manchester Victoria.

Saturday and Sunday services were replaced by buses most weekends from May 2015 until November 2018 due to the late-running electrification work on the route.[9] Weekend services resumed on Sunday 11 November 2018 after the completion of the electrification engineering work.

Renovation and Electrification[edit]

It was announced by the Department for Transport in December 2009, the line between Preston and Manchester, on which the station is situated, will be electrified which should reduce journey times to Manchester by up to ten minutes.[10] There have been many delays but completion is expected before December 2018.

Electric service commenced on 11 February 2019 utilising Class 319 electric multiple units.

Post electrification services[edit]

A new timetable will be introduced in May 2019 which will feature new electric trains and shorter journey times; daytime services will run hourly between Preston and Manchester Victoria with evening and additional peak services running between Blackpool North and Manchester Piccadilly and onwards to Manchester Airport or Hazel Grove; all services will utilise Class 319 electric multiple units.

Saturday services will be similar to weekday services with all evening services after 22:00 extending to Manchester Airport.

Sunday services will extend to Blackpool North with some early morning and late night services running to/from Manchester Airport.


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J., (1995) The Directory of Railway Stations, Yeovil: Patrick Stephens
  2. ^ Disused Stations - HorwichDisused Stations - Horwich; Retrieved 16 August 2016
  3. ^ BR Timetable 1973, table 96
  4. ^ "Blackrod Station - Blackrod Junction signal box". Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  5. ^ "Bromley Cross signal box". Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  6. ^ Blackrod Station - Past & Present website news article; Retrieved 2012-10-29
  7. ^ "Passengers to benefit from over £1 million investment at Blackrod station". Northern Rail News. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  8. ^ GB eNRT May 2019 Edition, Table 82
  9. ^ Manchester - Bolton - Preston route improvement works Archived 30 July 2018 at the Wayback MachineNorthern website news article; Retrieved 2 August 2018
  10. ^ Milmo, Dan (9 December 2009). "Rail electrification gets green light". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2018.

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Chorley or Adlington   Northern
Manchester-Preston Line
  Horwich Parkway
Chorley   Northern
Blackpool North - Manchester Airport
(limited service)

To be incorporated to Northern Connect from December 2019
  Horwich Parkway
Chorley or Adlington   Northern
Blackpool North - Hazel Grove
(limited service)
  Horwich Parkway
  Future Services  
Chorley   Northern Connect
Blackpool North - Manchester Airport
(limited service)
  Horwich Parkway
  Historical railways  
Line and station open
  Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Bolton and Preston Railway
  Lostock Lane
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Horwich Branch
Line and station closed