Westhoughton railway station

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Westhoughton National Rail
Platform furniture, Westhoughton railway station (geograph 4531848).jpg
Westhoughton railway station in 2015
Local authorityBolton
Grid referenceSD654067
Station codeWHG
Managed byNorthern
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryF1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 0.226 million
2014/15Increase 0.231 million
2015/16Decrease 0.129 million
2016/17Increase 0.195 million
2017/18Decrease 0.177 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTETransport for Greater Manchester
Key datesOpened 1848 (1848)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Westhoughton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK railways portal

Westhoughton railway station is one of the two stations which serve the town of Westhoughton, in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, Greater Manchester, north-western England. The station is 15 12 miles (24.9 km) north west of Manchester Piccadilly.


The only station on a line connecting the Manchester-Preston Line at Bolton and the Manchester-Southport Line at Hindley near Wigan, it was opened in 1848, along with the line, by the Liverpool and Bury Railway, when the route between the two via Wigan and Bolton was completed. It subsequently became part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

The station is in Church Street, about ten minutes walk from the town centre. Westhoughton is also served by Daisy Hill railway station, around 15 minutes on foot from the town centre, on the Manchester-Southport Line, via Atherton.

Unlike the town's other station at Daisy Hill, Westhoughton station has been unstaffed since 1974, when all the trackside and roadside buildings were demolished. This is despite the fact that Westhoughton enjoyed similar levels of patronage. From 2004 to 2012, passenger usage increased by 231%.[1] The station's passenger usage seems set to grow further, as there has been considerable housing development on brownfield land, which was the site of a mine, within a few hundred yards of the station, as the town continues to grow as a commuter suburb.[2]

In the late 1980s, Westhoughton very nearly had a new third station at Dobb Brow, and planning went as far as allowing the proposed station to appear on railway maps as "may open during the course of this timetable". At the last moment, however, plans were shelved. In 2000, these plans were revived, but did not come to fruition.[3]

In 2008, unspecified development was planned for the station as part of GMPTE's plans to impose a congestion charge on drivers entering Manchester city centre at peak times, and use the funds raised to upgrade public transport provision. The scheme was dropped after the proposal was substantially rejected in a referendum.[4]

Location and facilities[edit]

There are neither toilets nor refreshment facilities, nor a payphone since 2011. A card-only ticket machine and "remote travel information" are provided by screens on each platform.

Until 2013, The Commercial pub stood next door to the station, when it was closed and put up for sale.

There are bus stops for services to many parts of the town, and to the town's other station, Daisy Hill.

Access to the Bolton platform is by a long steep multi-stepped ramp and to the Wigan platform via a steep unstepped ramp.[5] Access to both platforms has not been improved for those with prams, pushchairs or wheelchairs.

There is a large free car park with unsignposted access to the station.

The station is partly maintained by the Friends of Westhoughton Station, a voluntary group set up in 2012 with the aim of brightening up the station and providing floral displays.[6][7]


A Northern Class 150, with a service to Wigan Wallgate in 2015
A Northern Class 150, with a service to Bolton in 2015

For many years Westhoughton had an hourly service.[8] Since the 1980s services have dramatically improved:

Since the May 2018 timetable change, the service pattern has been altered significantly. All westbound trains now run to and from Wigan North Western, where connections are available for Preston and points north and also for Crewe, London Euston and stations to Liverpool Lime Street via St Helens. Eastbound, there are two trains per hour to Bolton and Salford Crescent - one continues to Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport and Alderley Edge, whilst the other runs to Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. There are no longer regular trains to Wigan Wallgate and onward to Southport (save for a small number of peak hour services) - passengers must change at Hindley if travelling to these destinations.[9] In the evening, the service drops to hourly. On weekends, trains are being replaced by buses until the end of 2018 due to ongoing electrification work on the Preston - Bolton - Salford Crescent route (which is running significantly behind schedule).

Regular through services to Liverpool via Wallgate and Kirkby once operated via Bolton/Westhoughton, which originally formed part of the Liverpool and Bury Railway and also the L&Y main line between Liverpool Exchange and Manchester, prior to the opening of the direct route through Swinton. However, since the western end of the route was electrified in 1978, Kirkby trains have either terminated at Wigan or been re-routed via Atherton.

Trains continuing to Bolton pass by, but cannot stop at, Lostock (Junction) station, as there are no platforms for the Wigan line. Passengers wishing to travel from Westhoughton to Preston and Blackpool must either change at Wigan Wallgate, usually crossing the road to Wigan North Western, a 100 yards walk, or via Bolton. Connections to London Euston can be made at Wigan, which is recommended as there is always only one change, or at Manchester Piccadilly.

Between May and December 2015, the service pattern was altered temporarily due to the work being carried out to widen Farnworth Tunnel as part of the plans to electrify the Manchester to Preston Line. With only limited capacity south of Bolton, Manchester services were reduced to an hourly frequency, and curtailed at Bolton on Monday to Fridays, whilst weekend services were replaced by buses as Bolton station was also undergoing upgrade work for electrification. A peak hour bus shuttle to and from Daisy Hill was introduced to connect with those trains that had been diverted via Walkden, whilst westbound trains ran to Kirkby once again rather than Southport.[10] This timetable ended in December 2015, when the line through Farnworth Tunnel was reopened.


  1. ^ "ORR Station Usage Statistics". Office of Rail and Road.
  2. ^ "Westhoughton". swanonline.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 October 2006.
  3. ^ "BEN OPINION: Top priority on the trains". The Bolton News. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Voters reject congestion charge". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Westhoughton Station Plan". National Rail. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Who we are". Friends of Westhoughton Station. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  7. ^ "New-look for Westhoughton railway station". MyWesthoughton. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  8. ^ BR Timetable 1973, table 95
  9. ^ Table 82 National Rail timetable, May 2018
  10. ^ "Timetable 14 - Manchester to Southport, 2 May - 4 October 2015" (PDF). Northern Rail. Retrieved 20 June 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Hindley   Northern
Manchester-Southport Line
Manchester Airport-Southport
Wigan North Western or
Wigan Wallgate
Buxton Line or
Manchester Victoria/Piccadilly-Wigan North Western
  Historical railways  
Line and station open
  Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Liverpool and Bury Railway
  Chew Moor
Line open, station closed

Coordinates: 53°33′21″N 2°31′24″W / 53.5558°N 2.5233°W / 53.5558; -2.5233