New plans on the way for railway station at Carr Mill

Plans for a station in the Carr Mill and Laffak areas have been talked about for several decades, but residents have witnessed numerous false dawns.

In fact, Carr Mill was previously served by a rail station, but its closure in 1917 contributed to the area "having limited public transport connectivity", says St Helens Council.

'Access to jobs, education and services'

Now the local authority has put together a fresh, outline business case with engineering consultants Atkins, setting out proposals for investment in a new station, with the preferred site on land between Laffak Road and Woodlands Road.

According to the council, this would "enable the local community to take advantage of rail connectivity to access jobs, education and services, as well as encouraging sustainable growth in the area".

St Helens Star: A 'concept design' of a plan for Carr Mill stationA 'concept design' of a plan for Carr Mill station (Image: St Helens Council)

The council plans to work with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on ambitious plans to create the station serving Carr Mill.

It says "this would see frequent and reliable rail services to Liverpool. St Helens town centre and Wigan, providing strategic connectivity to key urban areas".

The area of the borough, which includes places such as Moss Bank, Clinkham Wood, Laffak, Haresfinch, Islands Brow and Billinge is regarded as being poorly served by public transport, with residents having to travel into St Helens or out to Newton for rail travel.

What would be the benefits?

Forecasted benefits of re-opening a railway station serving Carr Mill include: 

  • 2 trains an hour in each direction to Wigan and Liverpool
  • Carr Mill would be within 3, 15 and 30 minutes of St Helens, Wigan and Liverpool, respectively
  •  Estimated journey time savings of 5, 15 and 20 minutes to St Helens, Wigan and Liverpool, respectively vs current journey times taken by car from Carr Mill
  • The potential regeneration of brownfield land previously used for retail and as a petrol station, helping to tackle the current housing shortage and increase footfall for businesses in the area 
  • Forecast demand of 200,000+ passenger trips annually to and from Carr Mill by the early 2030s. This would support a modal shift from private car for long distance journeys, supporting our objectives to achieve net zero carbon.

Given the previous failed attempts to get these plans off the ground - there is likely to be a degree of scepticism, especially among residents who have lived in the Carr Mill area for a long time.

The council plans to work with the combined authority to further develop the scheme, including securing necessary funding, developing a full business case and then construction.

'Most comprehensive business case'

In a statement Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for strategic transport, said; “We know that public services have to be good to encourage people out of cars, and as a city region, we are investing in making that happen.

"A new station at Carr Mill, close to the site of the former station, would mean that a wide area of that part of St Helens around Moss Bank can access public transport without travelling into St Helens town centre.

"It also supports planned new development and cycle routes along the A580 corridor."

Councillor Gomez-Aspron descrinbed it "as the most comprehensive business case we have put together" for the scheme. He said the case is "very robust" and scores better than lots of other schemes in Merseyside.

He continued: "We will continue to push for this scheme, as well as reopening Sutton Oak [junction to central line], getting new MerseyRail trains to Rainford and improving accessibility at Garswood

"We only hope that the government pull their finger out to get trains to turn up on time.”