St Helens Central railway station

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This article is about the present station. For the similarly-named station which closed to passenger traffic in 1952, see St Helens Central (GCR) railway station.
St Helens Central National Rail
Bridges, St. Helens Central railway station (geograph 3795538).jpg
Place St Helens
Local authority St Helens
Coordinates 53°27′10″N 2°43′48″W / 53.4529°N 2.730°W / 53.4529; -2.730Coordinates: 53°27′10″N 2°43′48″W / 53.4529°N 2.730°W / 53.4529; -2.730
Grid reference SJ516953
Station code SNH
Managed by Northern Rail
Number of platforms 2
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  424,008
2005/06 Increase 445,007
2006/07 Decrease 412,916
2007/08 Decrease 410,670
2008/09 Increase 671,504
2009/10 Increase 684,958
2010/11 Increase 723,810
2011/12 Decrease 722,456
2012/13 Increase 974,018
2013/14 Increase 1.096 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone A1/A2
Original company St Helens Canal and Railway
Pre-grouping London and North Western Railway
Post-grouping London Midland and Scottish Railway
1 February 1858 Opened as St Helens
1 March 1949 Renamed St Helens Shaw Street
11 May 1987 Renamed St Helens Central
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at St Helens Central from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

St Helens Central railway station (previously known as St. Helens Shaw Street) is a railway station serving the town of St Helens, Merseyside, England. It is on the Liverpool to Wigan Line from Liverpool Lime Street to Wigan North Western. The station and all trains calling at it are operated by Northern Rail.

The station is on the Merseyrail City Line. The City Line is the name given to local rail routes out of Liverpool Lime Street station operated by companies other than Merseyrail. The City Line appears on maps of the Merseyrail network as red, and covers the Liverpool-Wigan Line. Although it is branded under the Merseyrail name, the routes are operated by Northern Rail on behalf of Merseytravel rather than by the Merseyrail franchise.

No information has been revealed as to whether the line will be fully under the umbrella of the fully electrified Merseyrail network after the current overhead electrification of the line to Liverpool and Wigan.[1]


The station, originally opened by the St Helens Canal and Railway as St Helens on 1 February 1858 to replace two earlier nearby 1833 and 1849 stations, was renamed St Helens Shaw Street in 1949. The station was completely rebuilt in 1961[2] to a design which included and advertised a significant amount of the local Pilkington Glass. It became St Helens Central in 1987 (the original GCR St Helens Central station situated on Corporation Street having been completely closed and demolished in the late nineteen-sixties).

An accident occurred on 11 November 1988, when a train from Blackpool North to Liverpool Lime Street became derailed after it departed from St Helens Central at 23:15. Leaving the station, the driving cab struck a bridge abutment; the driver was killed and 16 passengers received minor injuries.[3]

In 2005, Merseytravel and Network Rail invited tenders for the reconstruction of the station, including a new station building, footbridge and lifts. The new station building and facilities were assembled just a few yards from the 1960s station building and is the third build on the same site. The project came in at a total estimated cost of £6 million,[4] with the European Union contributing £1.7 million towards the total funding.[5] The new footbridge was lifted into place in the early hours of 22 January 2007. Construction work was completed in the summer, with the new waiting rooms and footbridge opened to passengers on 19 September. The new station building was officially opened on 3 December 2007.


Overhead electrification of the Liverpool to Wigan line originally due to be finished in December 2014,[1] has now been completed. Earlier, modifications to the adjacent bridgeworks were undertaken in 2012 and during 2014 electrification masts and new signals were installed, overhead wiring taking place in early 2015. Northern Rail, the train operating company, announced the introduction of electric services on the line from the commencement of the new timetable changeover on 17 May 2015 and the Liverpool to Wigan service is now operated by 4-Car Class 319 electric units. As Preston to Blackpool electrification is not yet in place, the Liverpool to Blackpool North service continued to be operated using diesel units; however, from October 2015 the Liverpool to Blackpool service was replaced by a Liverpool to Preston service using Class 319 electrics. Under normal circumstances, therefore, St Helens has an all-electric service.

Station Information[edit]

Penalty fares do not apply at this station. The station is open and staffed from 05:45 to 23:50, Monday to Saturday.[6]

The booking office is open 05:50 to 20:40 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 21:30 on Sunday. Advanced, season, general ticket enquires and sales can be made. Sunday opening hours are extended to 08:00-22:00 from April to August.[6] A ticket vending machine is provided next to the booking office. Disabled access is facilitated by lifts on both platforms. Car parking (including disabled bays) is available and is free for rail users, provided a parking ticket for the vehicle is obtained from the ticket office first.

Cold drink and snack vending machines are provided in the waiting room on the Wigan-bound platform. As of March 2012, a coffee shop serving hot and cold food was open upstairs in the main station building but closed in September 2012.


During Monday to Saturday daytimes, there is a half-hourly local service between Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western, and an hourly fast service from Liverpool South Parkway which continues beyond Wigan to Preston.

On Sundays, there is an hourly semi-fast service from Liverpool to Wigan, with a number of trains continuing to Blackpool.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Electrification in the North". Network Rail. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Tolson, J.M. (1982). St. Helens railway: its rivals and successors. Usk: Oakwood Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-85361-292-7. 
  3. ^ Taylor, J.H. (July 1992). "Report of a train Accident that occurred on 11th November 1988 near St Helens Central Station in the London Midland Region of British Railways". Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Major works completed at St Helens Central Station". Merseytravel website. Merseytravel. 24 April 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "The EU: What's in it for me?" (PDF). European Union. 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "St Helens Central Station Information". Northern Rail. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Thatto Heath   Northern Rail
Liverpool to Wigan Line
Wigan North Western   Northern Rail
Liverpool to Blackpool/Preston Line
Historical railways
Terminus   London and North Western Railway
Lancashire Union Railway
  Carr Mill
Disused railways
Gerards Bridge   LNWR
St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway
  Peasley Cross