Headbolt Lane, Britain’s latest newest railway station, opened for business on Thursday taking many people by surprise including, it would seem, Merseyrail and Northern Rail which both operate trains there.
Headbolt Lane, Britain’s latest newest railway station, opened for business last Thursday taking many people by surprise including, it would seem, Merseyrail and Northern Rail which both operate trains there.
The £80 million station (you read that right, £80 million) is located a mile east of the previous terminus at Kirkby where electric Merseyrail trains arrived from Liverpool to the south west and Northern’s diesel trains came over from Wigan to the north east.
Two sets of buffers either side of a road bridge at Kirkby station made sure the two trains only ever ‘kissed and turned’ with no through running possible as used to happen before 1977 when Merseyrail was created. As you can see in the left hand photo below taken at Kirkby station looking towards the new station at Headbolt Lane, those buffers have now been removed.
And above right here’s the now abandoned platform at Kirkby on the far side of the railway bridge where Northern trains used to terminate and where Merseyrail trains now continue on towards Headbolt Lane.
Battery technology fitted to seven of Merseyrail’s smart new Stadler built Class 777 electric trains means they can use the unnelectrified track for the extra mile to the new (‘kiss and turn’) terminus that’s been built at Headbolt Lane.
This brings a welcome and convenient direct connection to Merseyside for residents of the Tower Hill and Northwood residential areas in west Kirkby both located close to the new station as you can see from the map below.
The £80 million funding for the station has come from the Transforming Cities Fund and the project has been a collaboration between Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Knowsley Council, Network Rail, Merseyrail and Northern.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram reckons Headbolt Lane “is just one step on the journey towards my ambition for a London-style transport system that will make getting around our region quick, cheap and reliable wherever you live.”
Which is all good.
With the new station now open Northern’s trains from Manchester Victoria/Wigan Wallgate and from Blackburn via Todmorden terminate on a newly constructed platform 3 on the east side of the station ….