Wigan North Western railway station

Wigan North Western railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Wigan North Western| code = WGN

manager = Virgin Trains
locale = Wigan
borough = Wigan
start = (on present site) 1838
Rebuilt 1971- 72
platforms = 6
usage0405 = 1.254
usage0506 = 1.396
usage0607 = 0.544

Wigan North Western railway station is one of two main railway stations serving the town of Wigan, Greater Manchester, UK. It is a moderately-sized station on the West Coast Main Line. It is operated by Virgin Trains, and is also served by Northern Rail. London Midland offer a daily service to Preston during the evening rush hour on weekdays; this service also calls at Wigan.

Wigan's other main station is Wigan Wallgate, which is about 100 metres away, on the opposite side of the street named Wallgate. Both stations are centrally located on the southern fringe of Wigan town centre.


The station was rebuilt in the early 1970s. The tracks are above street level and access to the six platforms is via a subway and stairs. Recently the goods lifts were modified to allow public access.
* Platform 1 is used for services to Manchester from the West Coast Mainline. This is used mostly for Transpennine Express services on Sundays.
* Platforms 2 and 3 are bay platforms, used by the few daily services to Manchester, and for trains unable to terminate at platform 6Platform 4 is used for Virgin Trains services to London Euston and Birmingham New Street, and express services to Liverpool Lime StreetPlatform 5 is for northbound services to Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. It is also used for services to Blackpool North and Barrow-in-Furness.
* Platform 6 is used by services arriving from the Liverpool-Wigan Line. Until recently the Liverpool services used platforms 2 and 3 while platform 6 was used infrequently. However, the construction of a new track between Wigan North Western and the junction of the line from Liverpool via St Helens has eliminated the need for these trains to cross the busy West Coast Main Line.

The platforms have heated waiting rooms. The British Transport Police have an office on platform 4 near the station's cafe.


The station is served by Virgin Trains. There is an hourly service on the West Coast Main Line from London Euston, which continues northwards to Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle and Glasgow Central. There is also an hourly service in the opposite direction generally calling at Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe, Milton Keynes Central, Watford Junction and finally London Euston. It is also served by Virgin's services from Birmingham New Street to Glasgow Central and Edinburgh. There is also London Midland's new service from Birmingham New Street to Preston, currently one train per day.

Northern Rail operates a half-hourly local service from Liverpool Lime Street, along the Liverpool-Wigan Line via St Helens Central with a handful of services running to Liverpool via the Lowton Chord and Newton-le-Willows. There is also an hourly service from Liverpool which continues north along the West Coast Main Line to Preston, then usually on to Blackpool North (although some run to Morecambe or Barrow-in-Furness). Northern Rail also operates occasional services to Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly. In recent years, most services from Manchester have used Wigan Wallgate station.

Northern Rail services are operated by a mix of Pacer and Sprinter units. London Midland use a Class 350 EMU for their service to Preston.

Virgin Trains services southwards to London Euston and northwards to Carlisle and Glasgow are always operated by electric Pendolino trains. Other destinations are served by diesel Voyager units.


Key dates

Withdrawn passenger services

Being located on the West Coast Main Line, Wigan North Western has retained regular trains to a wide range of destinations. However there were several local passenger services from the station which fell under the Beeching Axe and earlier, and the lines have since been closed:-
* Blackburn via Chorley (passenger service a pre-Beeching withdrawal in January 1960).
Trains departed northwards before diverging from the main line at Boar’s Head Junction, 3.6km (2¼ miles) north of Wigan. From Boar’s Head, a line ran to Adlington where it joined the Manchester to Preston Line as far as Chorley. From Chorley another branch line ran to Cherry Tree station and joined the existing line from Preston to Blackburn. In addition to the local service, this route was also occasionally used by long distance trains when these were diverted over the Settle and Carlisle line.

* Manchester (Exchange) via Tyldesley (local passenger service withdrawn January 1968, with some expresses continuing until 1969).
The line from Wigan to Manchester Exchange via Tyldesley and Eccles was the L&NWR’s route from Manchester to the north and Scotland. Before closure, this route was used both by local trains and by long-distance expresses between Manchester and destinations such as Windermere and Glasgow. Trains from Wigan North Western to Manchester Exchange travelled south for 2.2km (1½ miles) along the main line before diverging onto the Tyldesley line at Springs Branch Junction.

* Local Trains along main line
Passenger services were provided to a number of smaller stations located along the main line. Except for Leyland and Balshaw Lane (which was reopened in 1998 as Euxton Balshaw Lane)) these stations are now closed. Closure of some of these smaller stations started before the Beeching report (for example Boar's Head and Bamfurlong in 1949 and Golborne in 1962) and was completed in the late 1960s.

:Local trains called at:-

* "Note that the closed station at Balshaw Lane & Euxton was at a different location to the new station named Euxton Balshaw Lane, which opened in 1998."
* "There are currently proposals to re-open some of the closed local stations (e.g Golborne), but none has been approved at this stage."

Future Train Services

The Virgin Trains network is to run faster services to London, with some trains calling at Warrington Bank Quay only. These services would no longer call at Crewe, however, the Virgin Trains service to Birmingham New Street would soon fill this gap in. In 2009, Wigan could have another direct link to Glasgow as Glasgow Trains would run the new Liverpool-Glasgow service, running two trains a day calling only at Oxenholme and Carlisle. These would be ran by top and tail Class 67 locomotives.

Other stations in Wigan

Wigan had a third station: Wigan Central.

Wigan Central was located in Station Road, still in the town centre but some way away from the two main stations (at North Western and Wallgate). It was a terminal station on the branch line to Glazebrook and on to Manchester Central.

Wigan Central was opened by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (later to become the Great Central) in October 1892 and was closed to passengers in November 1964.

Historical References

* "A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain – vol.10 The North West." G.O.Holt, pub. David & Charles (1986) ISBN 0-946537-34-8

* "Electric Euston to Glasgow." O.S.Nock, pub. Ian Allan (1974) ISBN 0-7110-0530-3

* "A Lancashire Triangle – Part 1." D.J.Sweeney, pub. Triangle Publishing (1996) ISBN 0-9529333-0-6

ee also

*Wigan Central railway station

External links

* [http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cj.tolley/rjd/rjd-077.htm Historic map of railways in Wigan]


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