New express bus improves links between Skelmersdale and Liverpool
The 319 Trainlink service, operated by Stagecoach on behalf of Lancashire County Council, runs between Skelmersdale Concourse, Kirkby railway station and Kirkby bus station for onward transport links into Liverpool reducing the travel time between Skelmersdale and Liverpool Central Station to under 50 minutes.
The express service, which launched on Sunday 22 January, operates every 30 minutes throughout the day Monday to Saturday, and every hour in the evening. There is also an hourly service on Sundays. Buses are timed to connect with Merseyrail train services from early ’til late.
The development of the Trainlink service forms part of a £34m programme to make buses the best travel option for more people across the Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council areas following a successful bid by the councils and local bus operators to the Department for Transport to support their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP).
Phil Green, Lancashire County Council executive director of growth, environment and transport, said: “Our Bus Service Improvement Plan means we can make some significant improvements over the next 3 years, and this express link to Kirkby will make journeys to and from Liverpool much easier for people in Skelmersdale.
“This will open up opportunities for people travelling to Liverpool for work, education and leisure and also links Skelmersdale into the national rail network at Kirkby.”
Jane English, acting managing director of Merseyrail, said: “Merseyrail is delighted to be able to support this fantastic new public transport service, which will complement the Merseyrail network so well. The people of Skelmersdale will now have a fast and reliable public transport option for getting across the Liverpool city region. This will open up new employment, education and leisure opportunities for many people in the Skelmersdale area, and also see more people travelling to Skelmersdale for work or school”.
“Merseyrail looks forward to being a key partner to the Skelmersdale community in the years ahead.”
Matt Davies, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire said: “Stagecoach is delighted to be operating the new Trainlink Skelmersdale-Kirkby service in partnership with Lancashire County Council. The new route will provide a much-needed improvement in public transport connectivity to Liverpool for residents of West Lancashire and is a much greener way to travel than using a car. We look forward to welcoming our new customers in Skelmersdale and providing fast, efficient bus connections to both Merseyrail and the wider bus network in Kirkby.”
The 319 Trainlink will link to the new Headbolt Lane railway station in Kirkby once it opens later in 2023. It will be the first station to benefit from battery technology on the new Liverpool City Region trains for the Merseyrail network, removing the need to extend the third rail beyond the existing Kirkby station.
There are a range of fare options available, with adult single fares priced at £2 and tickets for unlimited weekly travel for just £6 as an introductory offer. Train tickets need to be bought separately at rail stations or via mobile rail apps. Integrated ticketing is being developed for future introduction with Merseytravel.
The timetable for the new bus service can be seen on this link: Timetable
Merseyrail Introduces new Trains On Kirkby – Liverpool Central Route
On the same day as the new express bus service was introduced Merseyrail also introduced the first of their new 777 trains on the Kirkby to Liverpool Central route. Both photographs above courtesy of David Stuart Clarke.