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Earlestown railway station is a railway station in Earlestownmarker, Newton-le-Willowsmarker in Merseyside, Englandmarker. Since recent restoration of a platform for Warrington Bank Quay to Liverpool trains, it is one of the few "triangular" stations in Britain (see below).

Early history

The station lies on the former Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which was opened on 15 September 1830. On 25 July 1831 the Warrington and Newton Railway was opened for public use, making a junction at a point in the township of Newton, facing in the direction of Liverpoolmarker.

The surviving Earlestown station buildings were constructed around 1835 on the original site, at the point of intersection of these two early railways, incidentally forming the first steam railway junction, which was given the name Newton Junction. The locality was soon selected as the site of the company's carriage and wagon works, and thus developed into something of a 'company town', which was given the name "Earlestown" after James Hardman Earle, a director of the Liverpool and Manchester company. There was also a branch to a local colliery.

The junction had very tight curvature and this caused problems - instructions were issued on the maximum speed at which trains could go from one line to another. The original building now forms the (currently unused) waiting room of Earlestown Station.

The Grand Junction Railway (GJR) absorbed the Warrington and Newton company as of 31 December 1834 and from the GJR's completion of their trunk line from Birmingham on 4 July 1837 used it to access the Liverpool and Manchester line. A new "Curve" was built at Newton Junction so that trains could run towards Manchester; this gave the station a triangular formation with six platforms.

The method of operation involved the despatch of a Grand Junction train from both Liverpool and Manchester to meet at Earlestown. These were joined together and continued as one train to Birminghammarker. Both portions conveyed through carriages (after 1839) to Londonmarker The Grand Junction trains arriving from Birmingham were usually split at Warrington marker, and passed through Earlestown as separate Liverpool and Manchester trains.

Later history

The London and North Western Railway later operated their main line service to the Scottish border by way of Earlestown and Parkside, utilising a short section of the old Liverpool and Manchester line. This inconvenient routing was eliminated by the construction of the Golborne cut-off, a direct connection avoiding Earlestown. However, the original route was wired up as part of the West Coast Main Linemarker electrification, since it was then used by a few trains stopping at Earlestown.

In the Beeching Report of 1963, Earlestown was listed as one of the stations to be closed, but has remained open along with other stations between Liverpool and Manchester which had also been listed such as Huyton and Edge Hill. However, direct trains to St Helens Shaw Street via St Helens Junction were withdrawn.

At present there are frequent services to Liverpoolmarker (Lime Streetmarker), Manchestermarker (Victoriamarker and Piccadillymarker), Warringtonmarker (Bank Quay), Chestermarker and then via the North Wales Coast Line to Llandudnomarker. The line through the 'curve' is still electrified as part of the spur between Winwick Junction (on the West Coast Mainline north of Warrington) and Golborne Junction (south of Wigan, where the main line is rejoined). There are no regular electric passenger services through Earlestown or Newton le Willows, only diverted electric trains use this route when necessary.

Historical status

Earlestown station is regarded as having the oldest railway station building in the world that has survived on an operational passenger station and also as having in "The Junction" the world's first stationary turntable (the familiar turning triangle or "Y") and it is also connected to one of the world's first railway viaducts. A further point of historical interest is that the nearby Sankey Viaductmarker passes over the former Sankey Canal. Thus, at this point, one of the earliest passenger railways crosses the first canal of the industrial revolution.

Service summary

  • Platform 1 for services to Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge, operated by Northern Rail


:Calling at: Newton-le-Willowsmarker, Patricroftmarker, Ecclesmarker, Manchester Victoriamarker (where crew change over), Ashton-under-Lynemarker and Stalybridge


  • Platform 2 for services to Liverpool Lime Street (from Manchester Victoria), operated by Northern Rail


:Calling at: St Helens Junctionmarker, Lea Greenmarker, Rainhillmarker, Whistonmarker, Huytonmarker, Robymarker, Broad Greenmarker, Wavertree Technology Parkmarker, Edge Hillmarker and Liverpool Lime Street


  • Platform 3 for services between Warrington and Liverpool (bidirectional platform), operated by Northern Rail


:Calling at: Warrington Bank Quaymarker only


:or


:Calling at: St Helens Junctionmarker, Lea Greenmarker, Rainhillmarker, Whistonmarker, Huytonmarker, Robymarker, Broad Greenmarker, Wavertree Technology Parkmarker, Edge Hillmarker and Liverpool Lime Street


  • Platform 4 for services to Manchester Piccadilly operated by Arriva Trains Wales


:Calling at: Newton-le-Willowsmarker, Manchester Oxford Roadmarker and Manchester Piccadilly


  • Platform 5 for services to Chester and Llandudno (Mon-Sat only), operated by Arriva Trains Wales


:Calling at: Warrington BQmarker, Runcorn Eastmarker, Frodshammarker, Helsbymarker, Chestermarker (some services terminate), Prestatynmarker, Rhylmarker, Colwyn Baymarker, Llandudno Junctionmarker, Deganwymarker and Llandudno


    • Services to Holyhead ran as above to Llandudno Junction and then called at:


::Bangor and Holyhead


These direct trains were however withdrawn at the end of the 2007-08 timetable. Passengers for Holyhead must now change at Chester or Llandudno Junction.

References

  • Liverpool & Manchester Railway 1830-1980, Frank Ferneyhough, Book Club Associates, 1980, (no ISBN)



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