Wigan Wallgate railway station

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Wigan Wallgate railway station
Wigan Wallgate railway station is one of two main railway stations serving the town of Wigan in Greater Manchester, England. The station is on 2 lines, the Manchester-Southport Line and the Manchester-Kirkby Line. It is (16 miles) north west of Manchester Victoria ( distance via Atherton). It is also the starting point of the Wigan-Manchester Line. Wigan's other main station is Wigan North Western, which is about 100 metres/yards away, on the opposite side of the street named Wallgate. The apparent sharp increase in usage 2006/7 (right) is in fact due to a change in the way passengers to and from "Wigan Stations" were allocated between Wigan Wallgate and Wigan North Western. The recent apparent decline is again due to the Strategic Rail Authority's constant attempts to allocate grouped stations' passengers accurately.

There are three platforms, two through platforms and one bay platform for trains departing towards Southport or Kirkby. Platforms are below street level and reached via a flight of stairs from the street level concourse which contains a ticket office and a newsagent. However, a goods lift has been modified for passenger use.

  • 1848 The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) opened the line between Liverpool and Lostock Junction (west of Bolton on the Manchester to Preston line) on 20 November 1848. The original L&YR station at Wigan was located east of the current station, closer to the London & North Western Railway (L&NWR) station. The early train services on the line ran to Liverpool, Bolton, Bury and Manchester.
  • 1855 The railway opened between Wigan and Southport on 9 April 1855. Wigan's L&YR station was then relocated to a position west of where Wallgate station is today.
  • 1868 The L&YR introduced a passenger service on 14 September 1868 between Wallgate station and Chorley, using a newly-opened route from Hindley to Blackrod, near Horwich. On 1 November 1869, the Chorley trains were extended to Blackburn. The L&NWR ran a competing service from Wigan North Western via Boar's Head, which shared the same route from Adlington onwards to Blackburn.
  • 1888 On 1 October 1888, the L&YR opened a new line from Pendleton in Salford via Atherton to Hindley. This provided a faster, more direct route for trains from Manchester and avoided the busy bottleneck around Bolton station. The L&YR then introduced fast, regular trains between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool Exchange, in direct competition with the L&NWR which used the more direct route between Manchester Exchange and Liverpool Lime Street.
  • 1889 A bypass line opened on 1 June 1889 between Hindley and Pemberton, passing to the south of Wigan. This allowed a faster journey for the L&YR's Manchester ”“ Liverpool expresses by avoiding Wigan station. Express trains from Liverpool continued to serve Wigan on the route to Bury, Rochdale and West Yorkshire. The by-pass line was also used by freight trains to and from Liverpool Docks, which benefited by avoiding the Wallgate station area.
  • 1896 The L&YR opened Wallgate station on its current site on 2 February 1896. The railway company had received extensive criticism regarding the standard of its station and facilities since it opened the line through the town in 1848. In 1896 Wigan finally received a railway station in line with the town's size and importance.
  • 1960 Passenger trains between Wigan Wallgate, Chorley and Blackburn via Hindley were withdrawn on 4 January 1960.
  • 1968 The last steam trains ran on British Railways and by this time most services through Wigan Wallgate had been converted to diesel multiple unit (DMU) operation. The steam loco depot just west of Wallgate was closed and the sidings converted for stabling of DMU's. The 1965 British Rail (London Midland) timetable still shows express trains (Liverpool Exchange to Yorkshire and beyond) using or bypassing Wigan Wallgate.
  • 1969 The direct line from Hindley to Pemberton was closed on 14 July 1969 and all Manchester to Liverpool Exchange trains were routed through Wallgate.
  • 1970 The line from Bolton to Rochdale via Bury was closed on 5 October 1970. Trains from Liverpool now generally terminated at Bolton. Southport trains provided the main service to and from Manchester Victoria.
  • 1977 On 30 April 1977, the former L&YR terminus at Liverpool Exchange was closed. Trains were re-routed onto a new underground line beneath Liverpool city centre to Moorfields and Liverpool Central. Since diesel multiple units could not operate in the tunnels, trains from the Wigan line initially terminated at Sandhills (the last surface station), with passengers transferring to or from electric trains on the Southport or Ormskirk lines for the short trip into Liverpool city centre.
  • 1977 During the early and mid-1970s, the frequency of British Rail's trains from Wigan Wallgate was reduced. Services operated at irregular intervals, those from the Liverpool line ran only as far as Wigan or Bolton and there were no off-peak trains on the Atherton line. In May 1977, the train service was significantly improved under the financial sponsorship of Greater Manchester PTE. GMPTE subsidised BR to operate a regular interval timetable throughout the day, including stopping trains via the Atherton line. The improved frequency resulted in an increase in off-peak passenger numbers.
  • 1978 The trains to Liverpool (which had terminated at Sandhills following the opening of the Merseyrail link to Liverpool Central) were cut back to Kirkby. This happened when Merseyrail completed electrification of the western section of line between Liverpool and Kirkby. The diesel train from Wigan was scheduled to meet an electric train from Liverpool at Kirkby and passengers transfer trains to complete their journeys. This arrangement continues at Kirkby today.
  • 1978 The Victorian-era buildings on the station platform at Wallgate were demolished and new structures erected. The street level building remained largely unscathed.
  • 1988 Prior to 1988, passengers travelling to Manchester were limited to arriving or departing at one station ”“ the ex-L&YR terminus at Manchester Victoria. In May 1988 a new rail link was opened in Salford, which allowed trains from Wigan and Bolton to use the lines into either Salford Central and Victoria, or Deansgate, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations. In addition to an improved choice of central Manchester termini, most local trains from Wigan were extended to suburban destinations on the far side of Greater Manchester, or beyond. In particular, the trains to or from Southport tend to be directed onto longer suburban routes south of Manchester. The exact destination varies with each timetable revision, but in recent years, Southport trains have run through to Buxton or Chester, via Stockport. Currently, many of the Southport trains run to Manchester Airport.
  • 2003”“2004 A major refurbishment of infrastructure was completed in October 2004. The £12 million project involved a complete renewal of the track and signalling at Wallgate station and the adjacent carriage sidings. The LMS-era colour light signalling was replaced with a modern electronic control system.

All passenger train services are provided by Northern Rail and operated by diesel multiple units. During Monday to Saturday daytimes, the following services operate from this station:
  • 3 trains per hour (tph) to Manchester Victoria calling:
Hindley, Westhoughton, Bolton, Moses Gate, Farnworth, Kearsley, Salford Crescent, Salford Central and Manchester Victoria Ince, Hindley, Daisy Hill, Hag Fold, Atherton, Walkden, Moorside, Swinton, Salford Crescent, Salford Central and Manchester Victoria Hindley, Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Swinton , Salford Crescent, Salford Central and Manchester Victoria
  • 1 train per hour (tph) to Manchester Airport (via Piccadilly) calling:
Hindley, Westhoughton, Bolton, Salford Crescent, Manchester Deansgate, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport
  • 1 train per hour (tph) to Rochdale (via Victoria) calling:
Bolton, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Moston, Mills Hill, Castleton and Rochdale
  • 2 trains per hour (tph) to Southport calling:
Gathurst, Appley Bridge, Parbold, Hoscar, Burscough Bridge, New Lane, Bescar Lane, Meols Cop and Southport Gathurst, Appley Bridge, Parbold, Burscough Bridge, Meols Cop and Southport
  • 1 train per hour (tph) to Kirkby calling:
Pemberton, Orrell, Upholland, Rainford and Kirkby Connections are available at Kirkby and Southport for Merseyrail's Northern Line trains to Liverpool Central involving a changeover at these stations. On Sundays there is an hourly service to Southport and Stockport via Bolton & Manchester Piccadilly (with two-hourly extensions to Chester via Altrincham) but no trains to Kirkby. Passengers for Manchester Victoria formerly had to change trains at Bolton or Salford Crescent as there was no service on the Atherton line. This situation changed in May 2010 when a 12 month trial of an hourly Sunday service began between Wallgate and Manchester Victoria via Atherton (after Greater Manchester PTA agreed a funding package with train operator Northern Rail in December 2009 ). GMPTE hope to have the Sunday service become a requirement of the Northern refranchising from September 2013. There was a limited freight service through Wigan Wallgate until recently, operated by EWS and running to Knowsley Freight Terminal on the Kirkby line - these are however currently (May 2010) suspended. Most freight services through Wigan run through Wigan North Western railway station on the WCML.