Kirkby railway station
A Class 508 occupies the Liverpool portion of the platform.
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Kirkby from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Kirkby railway station is situated in Kirkby, Merseyside, England. The station is an interchange between Merseyrail services from Liverpool Central and Northern services from Manchester Victoria via Wigan Wallgate. It is situated 7.5 miles (12km) north-east of Liverpool Central and is the operational terminus of both the Kirkby branch of Merseyrail's Northern Line and the Kirkby Branch Line from Wigan.
The original station was built in 1848, as part of the Liverpool and Bury Railway (later part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway system). The station was situated on the western side of the bridge that bisects the site and consisted of two platforms. The L&BR subsequently became part of the main L&YR route between Manchester Victoria & Liverpool Exchange and prior to the 1923 Grouping carried fast expresses between the two cities in addition to sizeable volumes of local passenger traffic and freight. After the nationalisation of the railway network in 1948, the use of the line as a through Liverpool to Manchester route declined but local commuter traffic levels remained significant (19 trains per day each way ran along the line in 1965, though a few ran non-stop between Liverpool & Wigan). This nevertheless didn't stop the station & line from being listed for closure in the 1963 Beeching Report (along with the neighbouring Liverpool to Southport commuter line). The closure plans were subsequently rejected by the government in December 1967 and the station then became part of the newly created Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive's rail network in 1969. From the following year, the line through the station was singled to reduce track maintenance costs, with the Wigan-bound platform being taken out of use.
It was then rebuilt in 1977, when the line from Liverpool was electrified. Electric operations commenced on 2 May of that year, along with the end of through running between Bolton/Wigan and Liverpool.
The station configuration was altered due to the closure of the terminus at Liverpool Exchange on 30 April 1977. Its replacement with new underground stations at Moorfields & Central meant that the diesel services from Manchester, Bolton & Wigan serving the station could no longer operate beyond Sandhills as Diesel Multiple Units were banned from operating in the new tunnels for safety reasons. In order to maintain a through service to the city, the section from Walton Junction to Kirkby was third-rail electrified, with the remainder of the line towards Rainford and Wigan remaining diesel operated. The station at Kirkby became the interchange point between the two. Electrification eastwards from Kirkby was deemed too expensive at the time.
The modern station consists of a single platform on either side of the road overbridge, with a ticket office & waiting room at street level. The single track is broken up by a large buffer stop, which separates the electric Merseyrail trains from the diesel-run Northern services. Passengers wishing to go from one to another must walk a dozen yards or so along the platform to move between trains (a similar layout exists at Ormskirk). This layout was adopted both to avoid the need for through travellers to change platforms when changing trains and also for operational convenience - the lines to Fazakerley and Rainford are both single track (as noted previously), which facilitates the easy turnaround of trains here.
The ticket office is manned throughout the day, from start of service until 00:30 seven days per week. A self-service ticket machine is also provided. There are shelters on both sides of the split platform, along with digital display screens and timetable poster boards. Step-free access to the platform is available via ramp. There is a 174 space car park and secure cycle parking for 20 cycles.
Services to Liverpool Central operate frequently, running every 15 minutes during the day (Monday-Saturday) and every 30 minutes at other times with a Saturday service operating on most Bank Holidays.
Services to Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria operate less frequently, usually once per hour.
There is no evening or Sunday service but a normal service operates on most Bank Holidays. Most trains used continue to Rochdale prior to the December 2008 timetable change, but more recently ran to/from Stalybridge. Since the May 2014 changes though, most trains now run through to/from Rochdale again and since May 2015 continue onwards to Blackburn via Todmorden via the Caldervale Line. Trains from Manchester normally start at Victoria, though one runs through from Buxton in the morning peak. The last departure of the day terminates at Wigan.
Headbolt Lane and planned extension
As part of the second Merseyside Local Transport Plan (covering expansion of public transport in the region from 2006 to 2011), plans were drawn up for the possible future expansion of the electrified line beyond the existing station. Since the existing track at Kirkby station makes interchange difficult, part of the expansion involves the construction of a new station in the Northwood area of the town. This new facility, at Headbolt Lane - previously planned in the early 1970s but never built - would provide "turn-back" platforms for both diesel and electric services (likely in an island platform configuration). Exploratory technical assessments have already been carried out and Merseytravel have aspirations to construct the station as part of the Liverpool City Region Long Term Rail Strategy published in 2014. As of 2017, Merseytravel and Lancashire County Council have committed £5 million to a study into the opening of a station at Headbolt Lane and also in Skelmersdale. The plan would cost an estimated £300 million and would take a decade to deliver.
- "Disused Stations - Liverpool ExchangeDisused Stations; Retrieved 25 March 2016
- "Disused Stations - Rainford Junction Signal BoxDisused Stations; Retrieved 25 March 2016
- "Kirkby train station | timetable | ticket prices & facilities". www.merseyrail.org. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- Table 104 National Rail timetable, December 2016
- Northern Timetable 14 - Manchester and Manchester Airport to Southport and Kirkby, 11 December 2016 to 20 May 2017; Retrieved 21 December 2016
- "Merseytravel plan to open or reopen host of new stations" Shennan, P; Liverpool Echo news article 28 August 2014; Retrieved 25 March 2016
- Houghton, Alistair (18 September 2017). "Skelmersdale rail link moves step closer as £5m funding revealed". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kirkby railway station.|
- Station information for Kirkby railway station from Merseyrail
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
towards Liverpool Central
Kirkby Branch Line
|Terminus||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
North Mersey Branch