The Anonymous Widower

Could Kirkdale Station Become A Busy Interchange On Merseyrail?

Kirkdale station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line, is the station, where the Kirkby and Ormskirk branches of the line meet.

This map shows the Northern end of the Northern Line.

Passengers going between say Maghull and Fazakerley would use Kirkdale as an interchange, but it does mean crossing a high footbridge, albeit one with lifts.

These pictures show Kirkdale station.

One of the features of the station is the three tunnels, which are described like this in Wikipedia.

The three short tunnels were to give greater throughput and are all on the same line. The extreme west left hand tunnel is used for shunting. The next tunnel is the main Merseyrail Northern Line tunnel. The third tunnel is disused, but was until the late 1960s the fast line for expresses to Yorkshire and Manchester.

There are also two more tunnels to the East.

Could they be used for more than their current and original purposes to improve the connectivity of the station?

More Southport Services

Merseyrail have ambitions to connect Ormskirk and Southport stations, through a reinstated South Burscough Curve and a remodelled Ormskirk station.

I wrote about it in detail in Extra Services To Southport On Merseyrail’s Northern Line.

I came  to the following main conclusion.

Combining Southport and Ormskirk services in a loop via a reinstated South Burscough Curve, means the following.

  • Southport gets eight trains per hour (tph) to and from Liverpool.
  • Ormskirk gets four tph to and from Liverpool.
  • All stations on the Northern Line get four direct or single-change tph from Hunts Cross, Southport and Liverpool Central.
  • Ormskirk to Southport and all intermediate stations get 4 tph in both directions.
  • The service can be run by less trains than needed for independent operation to Southport and Otmskirk.

Southport to Ormskirk would need third-rail electrification.

There were a some subsidiary conclusions.

  • Ormskirk station can be based on a single platform with a passing loop, which could allow Liverpool-Preston services.
  • Ormskirk station could still run the current Ormskirk to Preston service.
  • The third-rail electrification between Southport and Burscough Bridge stations could be used by Class 319 Flex trains working services between Southport and Manchester.
  • Southport could become an all-electric station.

I suspect that others could do much better.

Onward To Manchester

Connecting Southport and Ormskirk gives all stations between Kirkdale and Ormskirk easy access to and from Manchester, with a change at Burscough Bridge station.

But what about going via Kirkby?

Headbolt Lane station is Merseyrail’s solution to connecting the single-track Kirkby Branch of the Northern Line to the double-track Kirkby Branch Line from Wigan  Wallgate station in an efficient manner.

I wrote about this station in An Overview  Of Headbolt Lane Station.

I have come to the conclusion, that four tph from Kirkdale to Manchester is possible with a cross-platform change at Headbolt Lane station.

Onward To Preston

The Ormskirk Branch Line from Ormskirk to Preston used to be a much more important line. Wikipedia says this.

Prior to the introduction of the 1970–71 London Midland Region timetable, it was a secondary main line from Liverpool to Scotland, Blackpool, and Yorkshire.

Now there is just the occasional hourly train along the line. Often it is just a single Class 153 train, although last time it was two.

It was also surprisingly clean and full.

But the line deserves better.

  • The frequency of trains should be at least 2 tph to Preston
  • They should also connect better with trains to Liverpool and Southport.
  • Could the trains go beyond Preston?

Perhaps the solution is to link trains between somewhere like Kirkdale and Colne or Blackpool.

I suspect that Merseyrail have their own ideas.

Kirkdale And The Canada Dock Branch

The Canada Dock Branch passes under Kirkdale station and if that line is opened up to passenger trains, then surely there should be a connection.

Kirkdale As A Terminus

If services are going to increase to Manchester, Preston and Southport, could Kirkdale have a bay plarform to turnback trains?

Looking at the shunting line behind platform 2, this could certainly be turned into a bay platform.


Kirkdale station could get even busier.

March 26, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The first part of this section starts with a repeat of what I said in Could Kirkdale Station Become A Busy Interchange On Merseyrail? […]

    Pingback by Interchange At Burscough « The Anonymous Widower | March 28, 2017 | Reply

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