It is also known as having the world's first stationary turntable and is connected to one of the world's first railway viaducts – the Sankey Viaduct. The viaduct passes over the former Sankey Canal, meaning that one of the earliest passenger railways crosses the first canal of the industrial revolution.
The station first opened in 1831 at the point where the Warrington & Newton Railway met the Liverpool & Manchester by means of a south to west chord.
Early sources refer to the station as the “Warrington Junction” or “Newton Junction”, the name “Earlestown”, first appeared in the 1860s.
The locality was soon selected as the site of the company's carriage and wagon works and developed into something of a 'company town', which was given the name "Earlestown" after James Hardman Earle, a director of the Liverpool and Manchester company. There was also a branch to a local colliery.
The London and North Western Railway later operated their main line service to the Scottish border by way of Earlestown and Parkside, utilising a short section of the old Liverpool and Manchester line. This inconvenient routing was eliminated by the construction of the Golborne cut-off, a direct connection avoiding Earlestown. However, the original route was wired up as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification, since it was then used by a few trains stopping at Earlestown.
Earlestown station is regarded as having the oldest railway station building in the world that has survived on an operational passenger station and also as having in "The Junction" the world's first stationary turntable (the familiar turning triangle or "Y").