Northwich railway station

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Northwich National Rail
Northwich - Railway Station.jpg
Northwich railway station
Local authorityCheshire West and Chester
Grid referenceSJ669739
Station codeNWI
Managed byNorthern
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2012/13Increase 0.204 million
2013/14Increase 0.207 million
2014/15Increase 0.216 million
2015/16Increase 0.234 million
2016/17Increase 0.253 million
Key datesOpened 1 January 1863 (1 January 1863)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Northwich from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Northwich railway station serves the town of Northwich in Cheshire, England. The station has two platforms and is located on the Mid-Cheshire line 28 14 miles (45.5 km) southwest of Manchester Piccadilly.


The first railway to reach the town was the Cheshire Midland Railway route from Knutsford, which opened to traffic on 1 January 1863. Further lines to Sandbach via Middlewich (opened in November 1867 by the London and North Western Railway), Helsby (the West Cheshire Railway, opened in 1869) and a short goods branch to Winnington (also opened in 1869) would complete the network of routes serving the area, with Chester Northgate being served from May 1875. The CMR was one of the constituent routes of the Cheshire Lines Committee from its opening, whilst the WCR was built by it. As a result, Northwich station was served by no fewer than four different pre-grouping railway companies. The LNWR also operated a number of its Sandbach & Crewe trains forward from here to Acton Bridge via Greenbank and the curve down to the West Coast Main Line at Hartford Junction.[1]

Ex-GC Robinson D10 'Director' 4-4-0 No. 2652 'Edwin A. Beazley' stands beside a water-column at Northwich Depot, situated next to the Cheshire Lines (CLC) station

Following the 1923 Grouping, Northwich remained a joint station (the CLC being jointly vested in the LNER & LMS and the LMS taking over the Sandbach branch trains). Services to Acton Bridge ended during World War 2, but the primary routes to Chester, Crewe & Manchester continued in use up to and after nationalisation in January 1948 (when they became part of the London Midland Region of British Railways). B.R withdrew passenger services from the Sandbach line and closed Middlewich station on 4 January 1960 - thereafter the outer face of the southern island platform at the station fell out of use, though the branch itself has continued in use for freight traffic and periodic passenger diversions.[1] Services on the main Manchester to Chester route would continue, but from 1969 both terminals for this service would change following the closure of Manchester Central station on 5 May and Chester Northgate on 6 October that year. Trains henceforth ran to Manchester Oxford Road eastbound and to the former GWR & LNWR Joint station at Chester General westbound. Since 1990 though, Manchester-bound trains have been diverted beyond Altrincham to run via Northenden & Stockport to reach Manchester Piccadilly as the former route via Sale is now part of the Metrolink tram network.


The main buildings on the Manchester-bound platform are still in use, with the ticket office open six days per week from early morning until early afternoon (Monday-Friday 06:15-13:30, Saturdays 07:15-14:30). Two self-service ticket machines are also provided for use outside these times and for collecting advance purchase tickets. The remaining parts of the building are used as a cafe and community centre. A waiting shelter is provided on the Chester-bound side (platform 2), whilst train running details are offered via CIS displays and timetable posters. Step-free access is only possible from the main entrance to platform 1, as platform 2 access is via a stepped footbridge.[2]


Monday to Saturday there is an hourly service westbound to Chester and eastbound to Manchester Piccadilly (with a couple of peak hour extras ending at or starting from Stockport). On Sundays there is now a two-hourly service to Chester and Manchester, with the latter continuing to Wigan Wallgate and Southport.[3] Through trains to Manchester had not previously operated on Sundays since the early 1990s, passenger instead having to change at Altrincham onto the Manchester Metrolink to continue their journeys to Manchester.

Proposed future developments[edit]

The Northern Hub proposes an additional hourly service to run between Greenbank and Stockport.[4]

Re-instating the passenger service between Northwich and Sandbach has been proposed. This would allow direct trains to Crewe from Knutsford, giving a better connection to the Midlands and the South of England.[5]

Proposals for a direct link to Manchester Airport from Northwich were first put forward in the 1990s, not much had seemed to materialise from this. However, in 2009 Network Rail stated that the creation of the third platform has meant that the capacity at Manchester airport will become constrained by the layover of the trains and congestion at the throat. To solve this issue they have recommended building a line underneath the Airport towards Northwich in the 2019 to 2024 period.[6]

The running of tram-trains directly in to Manchester, in addition to the existing rail service, has been estimated as being able to cut about 10 minutes off the overall journey time to and from Manchester.[5] Network Rail and the Department for Transport (DfT) have indicated that they are keen to carry out a trial for tram-trains in the UK, which will be between Rotherham and Sheffield. Carrying out the trial would provide the information Network Rail and the DfT require on reliability, frequency and costs.[7]


Further reading[edit]

  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (2013). Chester Northgate to Manchester. Middleton Press. figs. 39-48. ISBN 9781908174512. OCLC 892704846.

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Greenbank   Northern
Mid-Cheshire Line
  Lostock Gralam
  Historical railways  
Terminus   London and North Western Railway
Northwich to Sandbach Branch
  Billinge Green Halt
Line open, station closed

Coordinates: 53°15′40″N 2°29′49″W / 53.261°N 2.497°W / 53.261; -2.497