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Bolton Interchange is a transport interchange combining Bolton railway station and Bolton bus station in the town of Bolton in Greater Manchester, England.[1] The station is located on the Manchester to Preston line and the Ribble Valley line, and is managed by Northern. The station is 11 14 miles (18.1 km) north west of Manchester Piccadilly. Ticket gates have been in operation at the station since 2016.

Bolton National Rail
Bolton Interchange - - 1708964.jpg
Local authorityMetropolitan Borough of Bolton
Coordinates53°34′23″N 2°25′30″W / 53.573°N 2.425°W / 53.573; -2.425Coordinates: 53°34′23″N 2°25′30″W / 53.573°N 2.425°W / 53.573; -2.425
Grid referenceSD719086
Station codeBON
Managed byNorthern
Number of platforms5
DfT categoryC1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 3.695 million
– Interchange Decrease 0.592 million
2014/15Decrease 3.519 million
– Interchange Decrease 0.499 million
2015/16Decrease 2.866 million
– Interchange Decrease 0.457 million
2016/17Increase 3.240 million
– Interchange Increase 0.512 million
2017/18Decrease 2.950 million
– Interchange Increase 0.558 million
Key datesOpened 1838 (1838)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bolton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
The former station buildings (demolished in the 1980s), seen from the Bradshawgate end of Trinity Street

The railway station was originally named Bolton Trinity Street to differentiate it from nearby Bolton Great Moor Street station which closed in 1954.[2] The station was also known as "Bridgeman Street Station" and "Bradford Square Station".[3]

From the railway station, there are frequent services to Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly, Clitheroe via Blackburn, Wigan North Western, and Preston. Services operating to Victoria and Piccadilly operate through and terminate at other regional stations, such as Manchester Airport and Stalybridge.

The entrance and ticket office are at street level, at which there is a footbridge to the bus station and a taxi rank. A walkway leads to the platforms which are in a cutting. The main island platform has a buffet. The original main station building was demolished in the 1980s, but the Victorian buildings survive on the platforms. The clock tower was dismantled and rebuilt next to the new station.



Trinity Street station opened when the Manchester and Bolton Railway completed its route to Salford Central in 1838. The line extended to Manchester Victoria in 1843.[4] This line was extended to Preston by the Bolton and Preston Railway in 1841. The route northwards, now the Ribble Valley Line, to Blackburn followed four years later, whilst the Liverpool and Bury Railway's arrival in 1848 gave the town links eastward to Bury & Rochdale and westwards to Wigan & Liverpool. These lines had all become part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway system by 1858.

The network of routes radiating from here has remained largely unchanged to this day, the one exception being the line to Rochdale which closed on 5 October 1970.[5] Through trains to Liverpool ended in 1977 with the closure of Liverpool Exchange station, but the line to Wigan remains open. Trains to Manchester Piccadilly and beyond began running in May 1988 with the opening of the Windsor Link.

View northward from the main Down platform in 1965
Up empties train in the snow in 1962
Down iron ore train running through in 1963
The north end of the station in 1963

Automatic ticket barriers have been operational at the station since 12 December 2016.[6] Northern had announced its intention to install them here (and at several other locations) earlier in the year.


The station currently has five platforms in use.

  • Platform 1 is used for trains heading north to Blackburn and Clitheroe, and trains heading south to Manchester Victoria and Rochdale.
  • Platform 2 is situated at the southern end of the station and allows for trains from the Manchester stations to terminate at Bolton. It is also used for stabling units from Manchester on an evening and a couple of units use this platform in a morning.
  • Platform 3 is used for trains heading to Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport, Rochdale, Stockport and Alderley Edge though it is also signalled for use by northbound trains to Blackburn.
  • Platform 4 is used for trains heading north and west including Wigan, Southport (peak hours only), Kirkby, Preston, Blackpool, Barrow-in-Furness, and Windermere. It was temporarily closed in the autumn of 2017 for refurbishment work, but is now operational again.
  • Platform 5 is used for trains to the same destinations as platform 4.

In the early 1990s, Bolton's Platform 5, was used for the Red Star Parcels service. But this was separated from Platform 4 by a brick wall and the track had been concreted over to form a car park for passenger use. Parking facilities here were closed permanently on 24 January 2017.[7]

The old platform 5 was rebuilt to increase capacity and opened on 6th September 2017. The work to install signals and overhead cables was completed in the autumn of 2018.


In 2005 and 2006, part of the station and its surrounding area underwent major refurbishment. The walkway between the ticket office and platforms was modernised along with the station lifts and stairs. Bolton Interchange which serves as a direct connection between bus and rail to certain districts of Bolton was rebuilt, incorporating a taxi rank. The bridge connecting Newport Street with the rest of the town centre was also rebuilt, along with a large arch, which is clearly noticeable in the Bolton skyline.

In 2006 a proposal to refurbish the station toilets, waiting rooms, ticket office and platforms was rejected due to lack of funds.[8] In March 2010, GMPTE launched a consultation which proposed relocating Bolton bus station from Moor Lane to a new site adjacent to Bolton Interchange to improve connections between bus and train services.[9][10] Refurbishment work on the ticket office, platforms and cafe commenced on 15 November 2010.[11]

Despite the £5m renovation work the station remains in a poor state, especially the roof along platforms 3 & 4, which leaks constantly during wet weather. There is also a noticeable lack of facilities at the station. The station no longer houses a station cafe, and the popular newsstand that what once in the main ticket hall was removed during the renovation.[12]

The new interchange, built on land bounded by Newport Street and Great Moor Street, replaced the old Moor Lane bus station and provides vastly improved waiting areas, passenger facilities, information, safety and security. It directly connects bus and rail services via a Skylink pedestrian footbridge, improving transport links, as well as access to the town centre.

The new interchange will offer enhanced accessibility with a modern concourse and passenger facilities including a retail outlet, cycle hub, shop mobility, café and modern public toilets including adult and baby changing facilities. It will also make use of innovative sustainable energy initiatives, including rainwater recycling to flush the toilets, solar panels, air source heat pumps and low-energy LED lighting.

The new transport interchange was delivered by Kier Construction for TfGM in partnership with Bolton Council. The £48 million scheme was funded by the Greater Manchester Transport Fund and supports the Bolton Town Centre Transport Strategy and the wider town centre regeneration plans.[13]


From May 2015 until December 2015, to facilitate the electrification of the route from Manchester to Preston[14] a reduced service pattern was in place as only one track through the Farnworth Tunnel could be used due to its re-boring to accommodate twin tracks. During this period, many TransPennine Express services were re-routed via Wigan North Western avoiding Bolton altogether. At the weekends train services between Manchester and Bolton were replaced by buses. In April 2016, in preparation for electrification, Orlando St. bridge was replaced, Soho St. bridge was demolished and track lowering took place in the Bullfield Tunnels area.

Another 15 day blockade took place between 12–27 August 2017 to permit further work at the station, including the reinstatement of platform 5 (as noted), erecting a new footbridge, installation of overhead wiring and signalling upgrades.[15] Buses replaced trains on most routes, with through services diverted via Atherton or Wigan North Western. The work was completed on schedule on 28 August, but the line towards Manchester remained closed following the work due to an embankment collapse and bridge damage at Moses Gate caused by a burst water main. As a result, the only service running was that to and from Blackburn, with other trains diverted away and replacement bus services to Manchester, Wigan and Preston in place.[16] The line reopened to traffic on 6 September 2017 upon completion of the repairs to the bridge supports and embankment and normal working resumed on all routes.

The electrification work at the station was due to be completed in time for the December 2017 timetable change, which would have seen a major revamp of the service pattern in operation. The work however fell well behind schedule, with Network Rail admitting in January 2018 that the work would not even be completed in time for the next timetable change in May. This was due to unexpected problems with poor ground conditions in several locations, which meant that some 200 masts for the overhead wires could not be installed as planned.[17] In order to complete the remaining work by the end of the year (both piling for the masts and the actual wiring), further weekend blockades were imposed by Network Rail, which were expected to continue until November 2018 (along with a nine-day line closure in late August). The planned timetable revamp (including the return of Glasgow and Edinburgh trains and through services to south Manchester and Cheshire) have also had to be postponed until May 2019 as many of these improvements were dependent on the availability of electric rolling stock.

The first overnight electric test trains ran successfully in December 2018[18]

Electric service commenced on Monday 11 February 2019 utilising Class 319 Electric Multiple Units.



Platforms at Bolton Interchange in 2010.

There are frequent rail services to both main Manchester stations provided by Northern. Some of the services to Manchester Victoria continue eastward to Stalybridge or Rochdale, whilst those to Piccadilly run to either Alderley Edge, Hazel Grove or Manchester Airport. There are two trains an hour to Wigan North Western for much of the day and regular trains to Preston and Blackpool North.

There are also half-hourly services to Blackburn, with alternate trains continuing to Clitheroe (with extras at peak periods).[19] Since the May 2018 timetable change, there are no longer regular through trains to Wigan Wallgate and Southport - passengers for these stations must change at Hindley (except for a very limited peak service of three trains each way).

Prior to the December 2013 timetable change, a two-hourly service operated to and from Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central (alternating), but these Scottish services on this route now run via Wigan North Western and the newly electrified line over Chat Moss.[20] A small number of Scottish peak services still operated via Bolton/Wigan North Western and Bolton/Chorley using diesel traction until December 2014.[21] There was also a single service to and from Glasgow operated by Virgin Trains in the 2007–08 timetable, but this ended in December 2008.[22] Trains to Glasgow and Edinburgh will resume again in 2019 but trains towards Manchester will be set down only and trains to Glasgow and Edinburgh will be pick up only. The stops at Chorley will not be restored.

Most routes usually have an hourly service on Sundays, but the delayed electrification work on the Manchester to Preston corridor have seen these suspended and replaced by buses for much of 2017 and 2018.

First TransPennine Express used to run the service from Manchester Airport to Blackpool North (and to Barrow & Windermere) but this was passed on to the new Northern franchise on 1 April 2016. Barrow and Windermere trains no longer call here since May 2019, running instead via Wigan.


Several bus companies provide a comprehensive route network of services around Bolton and the surrounding areas with some subsidised on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester: Arriva North West, Stagecoach Manchester, Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, Tyrers, First Greater Manchester, Diamond Bus North West, Transdev Blackburn Bus Company, Vision Bus and Rosso.


  1. ^ Bolton Interchange - Where to Catch your Bus (PDF),, archived from the original (PDF) on 13 July 2015, retrieved 11 July 2015
  2. ^ Bolton Great Moor St, Subterranea Britannica, retrieved 2 April 2010
  3. ^ Bardsley 1960, p. 7.
  4. ^ Marshall 1981, p. 12
  5. ^ Marshall 1981, p. 45
  6. ^ "Ticket change for commuters using Bolton train station from Monday Thorpe, Liam The Bolton News article 10 December 2016
  7. ^ "Alterations to car parking at Bolton station as major investment work continues" Network Rail Media Centre article 10 January 2017; Retrieved 20 June 2017
  8. ^ "Station Revamp Hits the Buffers", Bolton News, retrieved 2 April 2010
  9. ^ Public Consultation,, archived from the original on 16 July 2011, retrieved 2 April 2010
  10. ^ A New Bus Station for Bolton (PDF),, retrieved 2 April 2010[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Construction begins on Bolton railway station upgrade". Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "The new Bolton Interchange". GMPTE. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Manchester to Preston electrification". Network Rail. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  15. ^ "REVEALED: Commuters face transport nightmare as Bolton train station shuts for TWO WEEKS in August" Holland, Daniel, Bolton News article 13 June 2017; Retrieved 20 June 2017
  16. ^ Emergency repairs to bridge means road and rail disruption in Bolton Network Rail Media Centre press release 25-08-17, Retrieved 29 August 2017
  17. ^ First electric trains through Bolton delayed by a further SEVEN months Holland, Daniel, Bolton News article 11 January 2018; Retrieved 10 April 2018
  18. ^ "Pendolino is first electric train through Bolton" Rail Engineer news article, 14 December 2018, Retrieved 20 December 2018
  19. ^ GB eNRT May 2019 Edition, Tables 82 & 94
  20. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2013-14, Tables 65 & 82 (Network Rail)
  21. ^ GB eNRT, May - December 2014 Edition, Tables 65 & 82
  22. ^ GMPTA December 2008 Timetable Changes Archived 25 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine 1 February 2008; Accessed 2008-10-30


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