Liverpool to Wigan Line

Liverpool to Wigan Line
Liverpool to Wigan Line
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Liverpool
Greater Manchester
North West England
Owner Network Rail
Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Route map
[v · d · e]Liverpool to Wigan Line
Continuation backward
to Southport
Wigan-Kirkby Line
Continuation to left Junction from right Continuation backward
West Coast Main Line
Track turning from left Unknown BSicon "KRZu" Track turning right
Station on track Station on track
Wigan Wallgate
North Western
Junction from left Track turning right
Junction to left Continuation to right
to Manchester
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
Unknown BSicon "ABZld" Continuation to right
West Coast Main Line
to Rainford
Unknown BSicon "exCONTg" Station on track
Pilkington Glass
Unknown BSicon "KDSTxa" Station on track
Track turning left Junction from right
St Helens Central
Station on track
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
to St Helens Junction
Thatto Heath
Station on track
Eccleston Park
Station on track
Station on track Continuation backward
to Manchester
Junction from left Track turning right
Station on track
Station on track
Broad Green
Station on track
Olive Mount Chord
Unknown BSicon "kABZgr"
Kirkdale and
Continuation to left Unknown BSicon "kABZr+r"
Station on track + Unknown BSicon "kABZc3" + Unknown BSicon "kABZc4"
Liverpool Docks
Unknown BSicon "kABZg+r"
Technology Park
Straight track Continuation backward
to Runcorn
Junction from left Track turning right
and Birmingham
Station on track
Edge Hill
Enter and exit tunnel
Edge Hill Tunnel
End station
Liverpool Lime Street

The Liverpool to Wigan Line is a railway line in the north-west of England, running between Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western via St Helens Central.



The route follows part of the Northern section of the Liverpool to Manchester line up to Huyton Junction; where it deviates, routing via Prescot and St Helens Central to Ince Moss and St Helens Line Junctions. Here, the line joins the West Coast Main Line near Springs Branch and runs onto Wigan North Western.

The route sees service from three passenger trains per hour (tph) in both directions between Liverpool and Wigan, usually operated by Northern Rail Class 142, Class 150, or Class 156 DMUs. The 3tph frequency includes two local stopping services and one longer distance express. The longer distance service usually continues to Blackpool North and operates a limited stop service of Huyton, St Helens Central and Wigan in the Liverpool to Wigan leg of its journey. For local passenger transport, the route is branded as a significant section of one of Merseytravel's City Line routes.

Future Electrification

In December 2009, the then Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, announced that the line between Huyton and St Helens Line Junctions will also be electrified along with the previously committed Edge Hill to Huyton Junction infill on the Liverpool to Manchester line, as part of a £200 million rail electrification scheme. Despite speculation that the electrification project would be shelved under the following coalition government's spending cuts [1]; in October 2010, the coalition chancellor George Osborne, confirmed the project would still go ahead [2].

This work, in conjunction with the previously-announced Liverpool to Manchester line electrification would electrify the entire Liverpool to Wigan route. Additionally, considering currently-operated services; in conjunction with other infill electrification projects announced, this will allow electric trains to operate from Liverpool to St Helens, Wigan, Preston and Blackpool [3].

Merseytravel (One of the two PTEs on the route) had previously stated their aspirations for the St Helens infill electrification; considering it a necessary addition to the (then-proposed) Liverpool to Manchester electrification, given the interworking of passenger services between the Chat Moss (Liverpool to Manchester) and St Helens (Liverpool to Wigan) lines imposed by the December 2008 timetable [4].


  • Liverpool Lime Street, Western terminus, here it is possible to interchange onto services to the Wirral. On leaving Lime Street, the trains pass through the Lime Street tunnels
  • Edge Hill, for inner city districts of Edge Hill, Kensington and Toxteth.
  • Here is Edge Hill Junction, where services to Manchester via Warrington Central split off
  • Wavertree Technology Park, for Wavertree. Also, the express service to Manchester Airport
  • Broad Green, suburban station (for Broadgreen Hospital)
  • Roby, suburban station
  • Huyton for Huyton shopping centre and bus station. Also, change here for services to Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Victoria
  • Here is Huyton Junction, where services towards Manchester Victoria and Warrington BQ split off
  • Prescot, suburban station
  • Eccleston Park, suburban station
  • Thatto Heath, suburban station
  • St Helens Central, for St Helens town centre and the World of Glass
  • Garswood, suburban station, also the last stop within Merseytravel's ticket zone
  • Bryn, suburban station (for Ashton-in-Makerfield)
  • Here is Ince Moss Junction where the Liverpool to Wigan line joins the West Coast Main Line
  • Wigan North Western, Eastern Terminus, Change here for Intercity trains to Preston and points North, Warrington Bank Quay and points South and for regional express services to Blackpool North.

Technical Details

Network Rail's route NW 2023 runs for 20.7 kilometers (12.9 mi) from Springs Branch Junction, near Wigan, to Huyton Junction, near Huyton.

NW 2023 M-Ch km
Springs Branch Junction 0-00 0.00
Ince Moss Junction 0-44 0.90
Bryn 2-32 3.85
Garswood 3-56 5.95
St Helens 7-30 11.85
St Helens Station Junction 7-42 12.10
Thatto Heath 9-11 14.70
Eccleston Park 10-07 16.25
Prescot 10-77 17.65
Huyton Junction 12-69 20.70


All services on this route are operated by Northern Rail using Class 142, Class 150, or Class 156 DMUs.

Monday to Saturday

Daytime hours of operation typically see 3 tph each way between Liverpool and Wigan, consisting of local stopping services every 30 minutes and an hourly long distance express which continues to Blackpool North[5]. The Blackpool North limited stop service calls only at Huyton, St Helens Central and Wigan in the Liverpool to Wigan leg of its journey.

The service then calls at Euxton Balshaw Lane, Leyland and Preston on the West Coast Main Line, Kirkham and Wesham on the Blackpool branch, terminating at Blackpool North. Some peak time trains additionally call at Poulton-le-Fylde before Blackpool.

Morning and evening peaks see an increase in service frequency, including some services originating or terminating at St Helens Central and some semi-fast services. First service departs Liverpool for Wigan at around 0530. The first train from St Helens leaves for Liverpool just before 0600, and Wigan's first departure for Liverpool is a little later at approximately 0610. Last departures from Wigan and Liverpool are around 2300, as of the December 2009 timetable[6].

The December 2008 timetable change

December 2008 is notable as it brought extensive changes to the Northern Rail timetable, to fit in with new increased-frequency services from Virgin Trains[7]. Timings were altered on all services. Most Liverpool to Wigan daytime local stopping services had previously omitted Edge Hill, but all stopping services on the route now call there.

December 2008 also marked the withdrawal of two relatively infrequent but notable services on this line[8]:

  • The long distance Express services used to run from Liverpool via St Helens Central and Wigan to either Morecambe, Blackpool North, and/or Barrow. Since December 2008, all Liverpool-Wigan line long distance services run to Blackpool only, necessitating a change at Wigan or Preston for the previously-served destinations.
  • A small number of commuter-timed trains used to run Liverpool via Wigan to Manchester. They provided a route from Liverpool via St Helens Central, Wigan, and Bolton to Manchester Victoria, though these were also withdrawn in the December 2008 timetable. Replicating this journey now necessitates a change at Wigan NW, usually involving a walk to nearby Wigan Wallgate.


An hourly stopping service operates on the route in both directions between Liverpool and Blackpool North calling at open stations en route. As of December 2009, Edge Hill, Eccleston Park and Bryn do not have a regularly scheduled Sunday service.

Roby used to be closed on Sundays but is now operational all week.


The section of line from St Helens to Wigan was opened on 1 December 1869 by the Lancashire Union Railway,[9][10] and the line from Huyton to St Helens was opened on 1 November 1871 by the London and North Western Railway.


  1. ^ "Plans for electrification of Liverpool to Manchester rail line may be axed as part of Tory-Lib Dem government cuts". Liverpool Daily Post. Trinity Mirror Group. 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Transport keeps biggest share of funds, after defence". RailNews. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  3. ^ "Railway lines being electrified in £200m scheme". BBC News. BBC. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  4. ^ "Electrification RUS Consultation Response". Merseytravel. Network Rail. 2009-07-09.–%20electrification%20strategy/consultation%20responses/m/merseytravel.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  5. ^ "City Line Timetable - All Booklets". Merseytravel. 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  6. ^ "City Line Timetable - Booklet 4". Merseytravel. 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  7. ^ "National Rail timetable CHANGES - December 2008 to May 2009". National Rail. 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  8. ^ "Northern Rail Timetable 10, December 2007 - Liverpool to Wigan and beyond". Northern Rail. 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  9. ^ Awdry, C. (1990), Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Wellingborough, ISBN 1-85260-049-7, p.86
  10. ^ Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Manchester to Wigan Line — The Manchester to Wigan Line refers to a railway closed to passengers on 3 May 1969, which was part of the London and North Western Railway before the Grouping of 1923 (see Railways Act 1921).This route was an alternative to the surviving route… …   Wikipedia

  • Liverpool to Manchester Lines — Overview Type Heavy rail System National Rail Status Operational Locale Cheshire Greater Manchester …   Wikipedia

  • Liverpool and Manchester Railway — A painting of the inaugural journey of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, by A.B. Clayton. Dates of operation 1830– Track gauge …   Wikipedia

  • Wigan Wallgate railway station — Infobox UK station name = Wigan Wallgate code = WGW manager = Northern Rail locale = Wigan borough = Wigan start = February 1896 platforms = 3 usage0506 = 0.432 usage0607 = 1.285Wigan Wallgate railway station is one of two main railway stations… …   Wikipedia

  • Wigan — For the larger local government district, see Metropolitan Borough of Wigan. For other uses, see Wigan (disambiguation). Coordinates: 53°32′41″N 2°37′54″W /  …   Wikipedia

  • Wigan North Western railway station — Infobox UK station name = Wigan North Western| code = WGN manager = Virgin Trains locale = Wigan borough = Wigan start = (on present site) 1838 Rebuilt 1971 72 platforms = 6 usage0405 = 1.254 usage0506 = 1.396 usage0607 = 0.544 Wigan North… …   Wikipedia

  • Liverpool Exchange railway station — Infobox UK disused station name = Liverpool Exchange gridref = SJ343908 caption = manager = LYR and ELR owner = LMS London Midland Region (British Railways) locale = Liverpool borough = Liverpool, Merseyside platforms = 10 years = 13 May 1850… …   Wikipedia

  • Wigan — Wigan …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wigan Central railway station — was a former railway station near the centre of Wigan, England and was some way away from the two main stations (North Western and Wallgate) which were on the western edge of the town centre. Central station was built by the Manchester, Sheffield …   Wikipedia

  • Liverpool, St Helens and South Lancashire Railway — Liverpool, St Helens South Lancashire Railway, was formed in 1889, but no services ran until 1895 and then only freight. Passenger services did not start until 1900. The original intention was to connect to the CLC s North Liverpool Extension… …   Wikipedia