Kirkby railway station

Kirkby railway station is situated in Kirkby, Merseyside, England. The station is an interchange between Merseyrail services from Liverpool Central and Northern services from Manchester Victoria via Wigan Wallgate. It is situated 7.5 miles (12 km) north-east of Liverpool Central and is the operational terminus of both the Kirkby branch of Merseyrail's Northern Line and the Kirkby Branch Line from Wigan.

National Rail Merseyrail
A new journey, Kirkby Railway Station (geograph 2995817).jpg
A Class 508 occupies the Liverpool portion of the platform.
LocationKirkby, Knowsley
Coordinates53°29′11″N 2°54′09″W / 53.4864°N 2.9025°W / 53.4864; -2.9025Coordinates: 53°29′11″N 2°54′09″W / 53.4864°N 2.9025°W / 53.4864; -2.9025
Grid referenceSJ402992
Managed byMerseyrail
Transit authorityMerseytravel
Other information
Station codeKIR
Fare zoneA3/C2/C3
ClassificationDfT category E
2015/16Decrease 2.356 million
2016/17Increase 2.428 million
2017/18Steady 2.428 million
 Interchange Decrease 64,938
2018/19Increase 2.489 million
 Interchange Decrease 50,385
2019/20Increase 2.909 million
 Interchange Decrease 50,106
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road


A 1908 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing (lower right) railways in the vicinity of Kirkby

The original station was built in 1848, as part of the Liverpool and Bury Railway (later part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway system). The station was situated on the western side of the bridge that bisects the site and consisted of two platforms. The L&BR subsequently became part of the main L&YR route between Manchester Victoria & Liverpool Exchange[1] and prior to the 1923 Grouping carried fast expresses between the two cities in addition to sizeable volumes of local passenger traffic and freight. After the nationalisation of the railway network in 1948, the use of the line as a through Liverpool to Manchester route declined but local commuter traffic levels remained significant (19 trains per day each way ran along the line in 1965, though a few ran non-stop between Liverpool & Wigan).[1] Nevertheless, this did not stop the station & line from being listed for closure in the 1963 Beeching Report (along with the neighbouring Liverpool to Southport commuter line). The closure plans were subsequently rejected by the government in December 1967 and the station then became part of the newly created Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive's rail network in 1969.[1]


From the following year,[2] the line through the station was singled to reduce track maintenance costs, with the Wigan-bound platform being taken out of use.

It was then rebuilt in 1977, when the line from Liverpool was electrified. Electric operations commenced on 2 May of that year, along with the end of through running between Bolton/Wigan and Liverpool.

The station configuration was altered due to the closure of the terminus at Liverpool Exchange on 30 April 1977.[1] Its replacement with new underground stations at Moorfields & Central meant that the diesel services from Manchester, Bolton & Wigan serving the station could no longer operate beyond Sandhills as Diesel Multiple Units were banned from operating in the new tunnels for safety reasons. In order to maintain a through service to the city, the section from Walton Junction to Kirkby was third-rail electrified, with the remainder of the line towards Rainford and Wigan remaining diesel operated. The station at Kirkby became the interchange point between the two. Electrification eastwards from Kirkby was deemed too expensive at the time.

The modern station consists of a single platform on either side of the road overbridge, with a ticket office & waiting room at street level. The single track is broken up by a large buffer stop, which separates the electric Merseyrail trains from the diesel-run Northern services. Passengers wishing to go from one to another must walk a dozen yards or so along the platform to move between trains (a similar layout exists at Ormskirk). This layout was adopted both to avoid the need for through travellers to change platforms when changing trains and also for operational convenience - the lines to Fazakerley and Rainford are both single track (as noted previously), which facilitates the easy turnaround of trains here.


The ticket office is manned throughout the day, from start of service until 00:30 seven days per week. A self-service ticket machine is also provided. There are shelters on both sides of the split platform, along with digital display screens and timetable poster boards. Step-free access to the platform is available via ramp. There is a 174 space car park and secure cycle parking for 20 cycles.[3]


Services to Liverpool Central operate frequently, running every 15 minutes during the day (Monday-Saturday) and every 30 minutes at other times with a Saturday service operating on most Bank Holidays. The last train to Liverpool is at 23:13.[4]

Services to Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria operate less frequently, usually once per hour (with one p.m peak extra). There is no evening service after 19:46 or Sunday service but a normal service operates on most Bank Holidays. In the past some trains have continued beyond Manchester, to either Rochdale and Blackburn via the Caldervale Line or to Stalybridge, but currently they start and terminate at Victoria (except the last train of the day, which continues via Todmorden to Burnley Manchester Road, Rose Grove, Accrington, and Blackburn)[5]

Headbolt Lane and planned extensionEdit

As part of the second Merseyside Local Transport Plan (covering expansion of public transport in the region from 2006 to 2011), plans were drawn up for the possible future expansion of the electrified line beyond the existing station. Since the existing track at Kirkby station makes interchange difficult, part of the expansion involves the construction of a new station in the Northwood area of the town. This new facility, at Headbolt Lane - previously planned in the early 1970s but never built - would provide "turn-back" platforms for both diesel and electric services. Exploratory technical assessments have already been carried out and Merseytravel have aspirations to construct the station as part of the Liverpool City Region Long Term Rail Strategy published in 2014.[6] In 2017 Merseytravel and Lancashire County Council announced they had committed £5 million to a study into the opening of a station at Headbolt Lane and also in Skelmersdale. The plan would cost an estimated £300 million taking a decade to deliver.[7] Lancashire County Council agreed a plan to commission an outline business case in May 2019 which will then be put to government.[8]

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced in August 2019 that they were planning to use part of a £172m funding package to build a new station at Headbolt Lane, subject to the plans being approved.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "Disused Stations - Liverpool ExchangeDisused Stations; Retrieved 25 March 2016
  2. ^ "Disused Stations - Rainford Junction Signal BoxDisused Stations; Retrieved 25 March 2016
  3. ^ "Kirkby train station | timetable | ticket prices & facilities". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  4. ^ Table 104 National Rail timetable, May 2018
  5. ^ Table 82 National Rail timetable, May 2018
  6. ^ "Merseytravel plan to open or reopen host of new stations" Shennan, P; Liverpool Echo news article 28 August 2014; Retrieved 25 March 2016
  7. ^ Houghton, Alistair (18 September 2017). "Skelmersdale rail link moves step closer as £5m funding revealed". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  8. ^ Faulkner, Paul (17 May 2019). "Plans for Skelmersdale train station move one step closer". Lancs Live.
  9. ^ Tyrrell, Nick (30 August 2019). "Merseyside set to get two new train stations and replacement ferries". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 31 August 2019.


External linksEdit

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Terminus   Merseyrail
Northern Line
towards Liverpool Central
Rainford   Northern
Kirkby Branch Line
Disused railways
Terminus   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
North Mersey Branch
  Aintree Racecourse