Westhoughton Station 

Westhoughton National Rail
Place Westhoughton
Local authority Bolton
Grid reference SD654067
Station code WHG
Managed by Northern Rail
Number of platforms 2
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05   91,054
2005/06 Increase 107,253
2006/07 Increase 118,458
2007/08 Increase 138,863
2008/09 Increase 161,534
2009/10 Increase 175,710
2010/11 Increase 197,650
2011/12 Increase 210,372
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Greater Manchester
Key dates Opened 1848 (1848)
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 1⁄2 miles (24.9 km) north west of Manchester Piccadilly.


It is the only station located on a connecting line between the Manchester-Preston Line at Bolton and the Manchester-Southport Line at Hindley near Wigan.

It was opened along with the line in 1848 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's system.

The station is located in Church Street, about ten minutes' walk from the town centre.

The town of Westhoughton is also served by Daisy Hill railway station which is around 15 minutes on foot from Westhoughton centre and is situated 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 track-side and road-side buildings were demolished).

This is despite the fact that Westhoughton enjoyed similar levels of patronage (see usage figures right).

From 2004 to 2012 passenger usage increased by some 231%.

The station's passenger usage seems set to grow further as there has been considerable housing development on "brown-field" land (the site of a former mine) within a few hundred yards of the station.

Indeed the town overall continues to grow as a commuter "suburb.".

In the late 1980s Westhoughton very nearly had a new third station at Dobb Brow and planning went so far as 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 as yet without fruition.

As yet (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 December 2008 referendum.

Location and facilities

As noted above the station is unstaffed.

There are no toilet nor refreshment facilities nor (from 2011) a pay phone. Recently provided however are a ticket machine (cards only) and "remote travel information" (by means of screens on each platform).

Until 2013 there was a long-established public house The Commercial right next door to the station (now, 2013, closed and for sale). There is a shop (newsagent) opposite the station.

There are bus stops for services to many parts of the town (and 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.

Those with prams and pushchairs should be warned that access to both platforms is difficult, and for wheel chair users (except for the most adventurous, or more accurately, reckless) impossible.

There is a large free car-park with convenient (if un-signposted) access to the station.


For many years Westhoughton had an hourly service (see BR Timetable 1973, table 95).

Since the 1980s services have dramatically improved:

Monday to Saturdays daytimes there are two trains per hour westbound to Wigan Wallgate (with one onwards to Southport) and an hourly service to both Manchester Airport via Piccadilly (limted stop between Bolton & Salford Crescent) and to Manchester Victoria (stopping at most local stations).

A through service to Buxton via Stockport also calls in the evening business peak.

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

Liverpool-bound passengers thus now have to either change stations in Wigan or change twice en route, except at weekday peak times when a few trains run to/from Wigan North Western (the handful of through trains that continued onwards to St Helens & Liverpool Lime Street ended at the 2008 winter timetable change).

On evenings and Sundays there is an hourly service to Southport and to Manchester Piccadilly (and beyond).

For many years there was no Sunday service.

Trains from Westhoughton to Bolton pass by, but cannot stop at, Lostock (Junction) station (there being no platforms on 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 - 100 yards walk) or via Bolton.

Connections to London (Euston) can be made at Wigan (recommended as there is always only one change) or at Manchester Piccadilly (changing additionally at Salford Crescent).

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