Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway

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Liverpool, Ormskirk
and Preston Railway
Sandhills railway station in 1977.jpg
Approaching Sandhills from the north.
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Lancashire
North West England
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Northern
Track gauge 1,435 mm
(4 ft 8 12 in)
standard gauge
Route map

The Liverpool, Ormskirk & Preston Railway in north-west England was formed in 1846. It was purchased by the East Lancashire Railway the following year and opened to traffic on 2 April 1849.

The railway ran from a junction with the Liverpool and Bury Railway near Walton northwards via Ormskirk to a west-facing junction with the Blackburn & Preston Railway just east of Lostock Hall. Documents from 1847 signed by Joseph Locke, Sturges Meek and Mackenzie, Brassey & Stephenson show elevations, plans and sections for bridges on line. A direct route to Preston from Lostock Hall was opened on 2 September 1850 and a branch line from Ormskirk to Rainford Junction via Skelmersdale on 1 March 1858.

From May 1859, it became part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway system, following the ELR's absorption by that company. Under L&YR ownership, it became the company's main line from Liverpool to Preston & East Lancashire and carried through express trains to Blackpool and Scotland via Blackburn, Hellifield and the Settle-Carlisle Line as well as significant quantities of freight to the docks in Liverpool. From 1891, it was linked directly to the West Coast Main Line by a new connection near Farington built as part of the work to upgrade that part of the route to four tracks. The southern end of the route was subsequently electrified by the L&YR in stages between 1906 (as far as Aintree) and 1913 (through to Ormskirk).

Today the line still operates, though through services between Liverpool & Preston/East Lancashire were withdrawn in 1969/70. The section between Liverpool and Ormskirk forms part of Merseyrail's Northern Line and the section between Ormskirk and Preston forming Northern's Ormskirk Branch Line.

Connections to Other Railways[edit]

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