Headbolt Lane is the first station to benefit from battery technology for Merseyrail's new trains. Credit: Samslipknot/commons.wikimedia.org
The new Headbolt Lane station is located 1.3km north-east of the existing Kirkby station. Credit: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
The new station will make it easier for Kirkby residents to reach education, employment, and training opportunities. Credit: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Headbolt Lane is a new train station situated between Rainford and Kirkby, UK. The project was delivered by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), in partnership with Knowsley Council, Network Rail, Merseyrail, and Northern.

The project involved an estimated investment of £80m ($95m), which was provided by the Transforming Cities Fund.

Headbolt Lane has become the first station on the Merseyrail network to benefit from battery technology, eliminating the need to extend the third rail beyond the current Kirkby station.

Knowsley Council granted planning approval for the construction of the new railway station at Kirkby in December 2021. Site preparation work at Headbolt Lane station commenced in March 2022.

The final testing of the battery-powered train was completed in March 2023, while services were opened for the first time in October the same year. Services commenced with one battery-powered train per hour operating initially between Headbolt Lane and Liverpool Central.

Headbolt Lane Station location

The new station at Headbolt Lane is located 1.3km north-east of the existing Kirkby station and to the north of Kirkby, between the Tower Hill and Northwood neighbourhoods.

Kirkby, a town in the Merseyside borough of Knowsley, is situated approximately 10km north-east of Liverpool and 19km south-west of Wigan.

Headbolt Lane Station details and facilities

The Headbolt Lane station is positioned on an extension of MEL’s Northern Line 9’s Kirkby branch, providing connection to Central Liverpool and Moorfields stations, as well as Wigan and Manchester.

Headbolt Lane Station serves Kirkby’s eastern neighbourhoods, including Tower Hill; Simonswood, and Northwood; and operates as the new terminus for Northern Rail’s existing diesel trains to and from Wigan and Manchester, allowing for interchange with Merseyrail.

The project has upgraded the Merseyrail train service from the Kirkby station to the Headbolt Lane station and serves as an interchange stop for Merseyrail Kirkby Line services and Northern Train services to Manchester.

The new station building includes three-level access platforms, a multi-modal bus interchange, and step-free access throughout the station. It offers 100 bicycle parking spaces, with the potential to expand to 200, and approximately 300 park-and-ride spaces, with the potential to increase to 500. The station car park features enough space for approximately 270 vehicles.

The station features a ticket office, a booking hall, passenger waiting areas, and restrooms, as well as a new double-track railway bridge over County Road.

It includes step-free pedestrian access, an extensive CCTV surveillance system, bus stop availability, a drop-off space, and electric car charging facilities. A new station access road is available from Headbolt Road, a bridge over Kirkby Brook, a landscaped frontage to the station, and connectivity to local cycling and pedestrian networks.

The station also boasts new segregated cycling and pedestrian facilities along Headbolt Lane, a new toucan crossing, and an upgraded bike crossing across County Road.

The Headbolt Lane station is served entirely by Merseyrail’s Stadler Class 777 rolling stock, offering a significantly larger capacity than the existing Class 507/508 rolling stock.

Contractors involved

Buckingham Group was appointed as the primary contractor for the new Headbolt Lane Station in February 2023.

HaskoningDHV was engaged as the principal designer and the NEC Project Manager for the enabling works at Headbolt Lane train station.

Headbolt Lane Railway Station Project benefits

Headbolt Lane Station provides access to the new battery trains to a larger number of Kirkby residents, as well as serves as the new terminus for Merseyrail and Northern services.

It contributes to the achievement of the net Zero Carbon objective by 2040 by promoting a modal shift away from the use of private cars and taxis for frequent travel, thereby contributing to a decrease in carbon emissions associated with car journeys.