Northern Line (Merseyrail)

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A Northern Line Class 507 at Liverpool Central.

The Northern Line is one of the two lines operated by Merseyrail on Merseyside, England, the other being the Wirral Line. It connects the centre of Liverpool with Hunts Cross to the south and Southport, Ormskirk and Kirkby to the north. It crosses the centre of Liverpool by a tunnel built in the 1970s, known as the Link. The line is allocated the colour blue on maps of the Merseyrail system.



Diagram of the Northern Line, showing interconnections with other local Merseytravel services.

The line runs from Hunts Cross via the former Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) route towards Liverpool Central. Just south of there, it leaves the CLC route (which is in tunnel at that point) into a 1970s tunnel which takes it into the former Mersey Railway Liverpool Central (Low Level) station. It then uses the former Mersey Railway tunnel for about half of the way to the next station, Moorfields, a new underground station built in the 1970s to replace the surface-level Liverpool Exchange. North of there, the route emerges from the tunnel to join the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway lines from Exchange station. After the next station, Sandhills, the former Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway line branches off towards Southport, while the other routes continue to Kirkdale on what was a joint section of track between Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway and the Liverpool and Bury Railway. After Kirkdale, the Ormskirk and Kirkby lines diverge.

Trains from Hunts Cross continue to Southport, while trains to Ormskirk and Kirkby start from Liverpool Central. Trains operate every 15 minutes on each of the three routes (Monday to Saturday daytime) and every 30 minutes at other times.


The Northern Line is electrified using a 750V DC third rail. The line from Liverpool Exchange to Southport and on to Crossens and Meols Cop, was the first part to be electrified in 1904, followed by the branch to Aintree (on the Ormskirk branch) in 1906 and then on to Ormskirk in 1913. The Kirkby branch and the line south of Liverpool as far as Garston were electrified to coincide with the construction of the Link in 1978 and the electrification cut back to Southport in the north. The section from Garston to Hunts Cross was electrified in 1983, allowing services to be extended.


Interchange with the Wirral Line is available at Liverpool Central and Moorfields. As the Northern Line does not pass through Liverpool Lime Street (which is the city's main National Rail station), passengers must use the Wirral Line as a connection (although in practice, given the relatively short distance between Central and Lime Street, many prefer to walk).

Interchange with other National Rail services can be made at Southport, Ormskirk, Kirkby, Liverpool South Parkway and Hunts Cross.

The new Liverpool South Parkway station opened on 11 June 2006, replacing Garston station and providing connections to the City Line formerly available at Allerton station.


Merseyrail Northern Line Stations
Hunts Cross – Southport Branch
Hunts Cross   Liverpool South Parkway   Cressington   Aigburth   St Michaels   Brunswick   Liverpool Central
Moorfields   Sandhills   Bank Hall   Bootle Oriel Road   Bootle New Strand   Seaforth & Litherland   Waterloo
Blundellsands & Crosby   Hall Road   Hightown   Formby   Freshfield   Ainsdale   Hillside   Birkdale   Southport
Ormskirk Branch
Liverpool Central   Moorfields   Sandhills   Kirkdale   Walton   Orrell Park   Aintree
Old Roan   Maghull   Town Green   Aughton Park   Ormskirk
Kirkby Branch
Liverpool Central   Moorfields   Sandhills   Kirkdale   Rice Lane   Fazakerley   Kirkby

Former stations

This list is incomplete.

See also

External links

Wikimedia Commons
has media related to:
Northern Line (Merseyrail)

Railway lines in Northern England:
Main lines:  Cross-Country Route   East Coast Main Line   Midland Main Line   West Coast Main Line
 Chester-Manchester Line    Hope Valley Line   Liverpool-Manchester Line    Manchester-Preston Line   Settle-Carlisle Railway
Commuter lines:  Airedale Line Blackburn-Bolton Line   Caldervale Line   Mid-Cheshire Line   Dearne Valley Line  
 East Lancashire Line   Glossop Line   Hallam Line   Harrogate Line   Huddersfield Line Kirkby Branch Line  
 Lancaster-Heysham Line   Leeds-Bradford Lines   Liverpool-Wigan Line    Manchester Airport Line  
 Manchester-Southport Line   Northern Line   Oldham Loop Line   Northallerton-Eaglescliffe Line  
 Ormskirk Branch Line   Pontefract Line   Sheffield-Hull Line   Sheffield-Lincoln Line   Stockport-Stalybridge Line  
 Wakefield Line   Wharfedale Line   Wirral Line   York & Selby Lines  York-Scarborough Line
Rural lines:  Barton Line   Borderlands Line   Buxton Line   Cumbrian Coast Line   Doncaster-Lincoln Line  
 Durham Coast Line   Esk Valley Line   Tees Valley Line   Furness Line   Hull-York Line   
 Oxenholme-Windermere Line   Penistone Line   Ribble Valley Line   Newcastle and Carlisle Railway  
 Yorkshire Coast Line
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