Ormskirk railway station

Ormskirk National Rail

A view of the Merseyrail end of the platform.
Place Ormskirk
Local authority West Lancashire
Coordinates 53°34′09″N 2°52′52″W / 53.5692°N 2.8811°W / 53.5692; -2.8811Coordinates: 53°34′09″N 2°52′52″W / 53.5692°N 2.8811°W / 53.5692; -2.8811
Grid reference SD417084
Station code OMS
Managed by Merseyrail
Number of platforms 1 (split into two ends)
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  0.693 million
2005/06 Increase 0.716 million
2006/07 Increase 0.733 million
2007/08 Increase 0.770 million
2008/09 Increase 1.028 million
2009/10 Decrease 0.999 million
2010/11 Decrease 0.879 million
2011/12 Decrease 0.715 million
2012/13 Increase 0.727 million
2013/14 Increase 2.059 million
2014/15 Increase 2.096 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone F
Original company Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway
Pre-grouping Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Post-grouping London Midland and Scottish Railway
2 April 1849 Opened[1]
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Ormskirk from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Ormskirk railway station is situated in the town of Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. The station is an interchange between Merseyrail services from Liverpool Central and Northern services from Preston over the Ormskirk Branch Line and is located 12 34 miles (20.5 km) northeast of Liverpool Central Low Level. The station building and three arch road bridge are both Grade II listed structures.


The station was built by the East Lancashire Railway's Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Junction section, and opened on 2 April 1849. From 13 May 1859, the station was owned by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. From 1 January 1923 the station was owned by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. British Railways nationalised all railways on 1 January 1948 and the station became part of the London Midland Region.

A branch line to Rainford Junction via Skelmersdale was opened by the ELR in March 1858 shortly before it was absorbed by the L&YR - this left the main line to Preston just to the north of the station. The line from Liverpool was subsequently electrified in 1913,[2] with the suburban EMUs using a bay platform at the southern end of the station to keep them clear of the busy main line to Preston, which was used as the L&Y's principle route to East Lancashire, the Fylde, Cumbria and Scotland.

The original Liverpool terminus of the line (Liverpool Exchange) was closed in 1977,[2] when the route became one of the three branches of the new Northern Line and trains began running to a new underground terminus at Liverpool Central. Since 1996, it has been part of the Merseyrail franchise currently (2016) run by Serco-Abellio.

Station layout

The current station consists of a single platform. An interesting characteristic is how the electric Merseyrail trains and diesel Northern trains are separated on arrival by a large buffer, so passengers wishing to go from one to another walk a dozen yards or so along the platform to move between trains. (A similar layout exists at Kirkby.) Prior to the Beeching Report of 1963 and the subsequent restructuring of the rail network, there were two main through platforms, and the electric commuter trains would pull into the southern bay platform. This practice ended following the withdrawal of through trains between Liverpool and Preston via this route - local services from Preston, East Lancashire & Blackpool towards Liverpool were either withdrawn or curtailed here from October 1969 and the last through trains ran on 3 May 1970.[2] From the following day, the line was split here and all trains now use the former Liverpool platform (the Preston-bound Up platform remains in situ, but is disused). The bay platform is now a footpath leading to the bus station. Though only a single line runs into the platform, the route towards Liverpool becomes double just outside the station. The line towards Preston has though been single track since the summer of 1970, except for a passing loop located at Rufford.

The former link between Ormskirk and Southport, via the Burscough Curves, was closed in 1962. The Skelmersdale Branch has also been lost, having closed to passengers in 1956 and to all traffic seven years later. It was lifted in 1968, though the Burscough curves remained extant until the mid-1980s.[3]


The Ormskirk Advertiser announced in June 2008 that Ormskirk railway station was to undergo a £1.5 million makeover, a project which was run in partnership between West Lancashire District Council, Lancashire County Council, Merseyrail and Network Rail. Among the refurbishments include a new booking hall, waiting room, toilet facilities, ticket counters and new automatic swinging doors, as well as a remodelled and landscaped path and bicycle route up to the bus interchange. Work started in January 2009[4] and completed during the summer of 2009, with the opening taking place on 31 July 2009. The station is classed as eco-friendly and gets its green credentials by using a system that harvests rainwater, as well as other various energy-saving measures.[5]

New tiles in the ticket hall were added during the third week of August 2015.[6]


Services to Liverpool Central operate frequently, running every 15 minutes during the day (Mon-Sat) and every 30 minutes at other times (evenings & Sundays). Services to Preston are irregular, with a total of 12 services in each direction Monday–Saturday, and no service on Sundays.[7]

Future Developments

There have been calls from local authorities and the local rail user group to reopen both curves at Burscough to allow the reinstatement of through trains from here to Southport, as well as to reinstate through services between Preston & Liverpool via Ormskirk and to rebuild & reopen the Skelmersdale branch.[8] Merseytravel's 2014 'Liverpool City Region Long Term Rail Strategy' does not back plans for an Ormskirk to Skelmersdale route (instead proposing that the link be provided from the Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate line), though it does suggest that a new bi-level interchange at Burscough Bridge could be built to provide improved interchange facilities between the Ormskirk branch and the Wigan to Southport line in addition to reopening the curves and extending electrification through to Preston & Southport.[9]


See also


  1. Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 178. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199.
  2. 1 2 3 "Disused Stations - Liverpool ExchangeDisused Stations; Retrieved 25 March 2016
  3. Marshall, J. (1981) Forgotten Railways North-West England, David & Charles (Publishers) Ltd, Newton Abbott. ISBN 0-7153-8003-6, p.93
  4. Work to begin on £1.5m makeover at Ormskirk train station
  5. New-look ‘eco-friendly’ Ormskirk station opens
  6. Ormskirk New Tiles
  7. GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Tables 99 & 105
  8. OPSTA's ManifestoOrmskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers' Association; Retrieved 29 March 2016
  9. "Merseytravel publishes 30-year rail blueprint"Place North West article 28 August 2014 ; Retrieved 29 March 2016

External links

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Terminus   Merseyrail
Northern Line
  Aughton Park
towards Liverpool Central
Burscough Junction   Northern
Ormskirk Branch Line
Historical railways
Burscough Junction   East Lancashire Railway
Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway
  Town Green
Disused railways
Westhead Halt   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Skelmersdale Branch
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