Liverpool Lime Street railway station

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"Liverpool Lime Street" redirects here. For the actual street, see Lime Street, Liverpool.
Liverpool Lime Street National Rail
Liverpool Lime Street
The frontage at Liverpool Lime Street
Place Liverpool
Local authority City of Liverpool
Coordinates 53°24′27″N 2°58′42″W / 53.4075°N 2.9784°W / 53.4075; -2.9784Coordinates: 53°24′27″N 2°58′42″W / 53.4075°N 2.9784°W / 53.4075; -2.9784
Grid reference SJ351905
Station code LIV
Managed by Network Rail (mainline)
Merseyrail (underground)
Number of platforms 9 + 1 underground
DfT category A (mainline)
D (underground)
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05 Increase 13.535 million
2005/06 Increase 14.472 million
2006/07 Decrease 6.377 million
2007/08 Decrease 4.338 million
2008/09 Increase 10.833 million
2009/10 Increase 10.840 million
2010/11 Increase 11.812 million
2011/12 Increase 13.835 million
2012/13 Decrease 13.166 million
2013/14 Increase 14.237 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone C1
Original company Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Pre-grouping London and North Western Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
15 August 1836 Opened
1977 Underground station opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Liverpool Lime Street from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
The red lines are the City Line which run with the West Coast Main Line from the south and the TransPennine line from the east. All of Merseyside can easily access the terminus station via Merseyrail.

Liverpool Lime Street is a terminus railway station, and the main station serving the city centre of Liverpool. A large building resembling a Château[citation needed] fronts the station. At the station there terminates a branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston, as well as TransPennine Express trains and other train services. An urban through underground station on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network is accessed via the main terminus. Lime Street is the largest and oldest railway station in Liverpool, and is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail.[1]


The original terminus of the 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) was located at Crown Street, in Edge Hill, to the east and outside the city centre. Construction of a purpose-built station at Lime Street in the city centre began in October 1833, the land being purchased from Liverpool Corporation for £9,000. A tunnel was constructed between Edge Hill and the new station prior to station construction in 1832. The architecture was designed by Cunningham and Holme,[2] and the station was opened to the public in August 1836, although construction was not completed until the following year. Because of the steep incline between Lime Street and Edge Hill, trains were stopped at Edge Hill, their locomotives removed, and the passenger carriages taken down by gravity, with the descent controlled by brakemen. The return journey was achieved by using a stationary engine to haul the carriages up to Edge Hill by rope.

Within six years, the rapid growth of the railways entailed expansion of the original station. A plan was made to erect an iron roof similar to that found at Euston station in London, ridge roofs supported by iron columns; however, Richard Turner and William Fairburn submitted a design for a single curved roof, which won the approval of the station committee. The work cost £15,000, and was completed in 1849.

In 1867 further expansion was needed and included the present northern arched train shed. With a span of 200 feet (61 m), it was the largest in the world at the time. It was also the first train shed in which iron was used throughout. A second parallel southern train shed was completed in 1879 being notable in being of dry construction with each bay taking only three days to construct.[3]

The station is fronted by a large building in the style of a French château[citation needed], the former North Western Hotel. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the building was built in 1879 at the same time as the second train shed and is now accommodation for students of Liverpool John Moores University.

A new ticket hall and office complex, which masked the views of the arches, were constructed in 2001. They were demolished as part of a comprehensive refurbishment completed in 2010.

In 1845 the L&MR was absorbed by its principal business partner, the Grand Junction Railway (GJR); the following year the GJR became part of the London and North Western Railway. At 'the grouping' in 1923, the station passed to the ownership of the London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) railway, and in 1948, the London Midland Region of British Railways. The station was one of the first to send mail by train.

Lime Street station was part of the first stage of electrification of the West Coast Main Line in 1959. In 1966, the station saw the launch of the first InterCity service.

With the creation of Merseyrail urban rail network in the 1970s, four terminus stations were demolished in Liverpool and Birkenhead centres, leaving only Lime Street terminus as a central point to serve the whole region for medium- and long-haul routes. The Merseyrail network gave ease of access for the whole Merseyside region to the one remaining large terminus.

Lime Street was voted Station of the Year 2010 at the National Rail Awards.[4]

Station layout[edit]

Liverpool Lime Street is divided into two sections: the mainline station, which offers national inter-city and regional overground services including local City Line routes, and services on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, located underground between the mainline station and St George's Hall.


The mainline station is still covered by the vast iron and glass roofs dating from the 1880s. Platforms 1 to 6 are shorter than 7 to 9, the latter dealing mainly with long-distance services to London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Norwich. Access to platforms 1–6 is through a ticket inspection barrier, while platforms 7 is now gated with the creation of new shops and facilities. Platforms 8 and 9 are still "open". Toilets, booking offices, shops, a left-luggage office, taxi ranks and coffee bars are amongst the facilities provided.

Statues of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock

The main concourse features a pair of statues of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock, a work entitled "Chance Meeting" by sculptor Tom Murphy, unveiled by Ken Dodd in June 2009.[5]

In 2009, new buildings were erected in the old "cab road" area between platforms 7 and 8. These currently house customer lounges, the Virgin Trains customer service point, and an ATM, and there are retail units which have coffee shops amongst the units.

Virgin Trains Class 390 at Platform 7
Interior of Lime Street station
London Midland Class 350 at Platform 8
Lime Street underground station
Main drop off point at the station
Liverpool Lime Street Approach

In line with Liverpool's role as European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the city's 800th anniversary in 2007, the station and its immediate surroundings received a £35 million redevelopment grant. The Lime Street Gateway Project saw the retail parade and office block in front of the station demolished, and an improved frontage and public plaza built. The development was overseen by English Partnerships and was completed in October 2010.[6]

As a rule of thumb, during the day:

  • Platform 1 for Northern Rail services to Warrington Bank Quay and Stalybridge
  • Platform 2 for Northern Rail services to Wigan North Western
  • Platform 3 for Northern Rail services to Preston and Blackpool North
  • Platform 4 for Northern Rail semi-fast services to Manchester Victoria
  • Platform 5 for Northern Rail semi-fast services to Manchester Oxford Road and fast services to Manchester Airport
  • Platform 6 for East Midlands Trains services to Sheffield, Nottingham and Norwich, and for the local stopper Northern Rail service to Manchester Oxford Road
  • Platform 7 for Virgin Trains services to London Euston
  • Platform 8 for London Midland services to Birmingham New Street
  • Platform 9 for First TransPennine Express fast services to Manchester, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Scarborough

Platforms are subject to change and diversions to a different platform are common, particularly when services arrive late or early.

July 2013 – Liverpool Lime Station platforms 1–5 are being fully refurbished by Network Rail. Platform 6 will be eventually straightened (as it is curved at present) between 2013/14.[citation needed]

The old platform 6A which is located next to platform 7 and is only used as a siding will become the new platform 7 in 2014.[citation needed] Existing platforms 7/8/9 will become new platforms 8/9/10, this will allow new long distance services to start and terminate at Lime Street to Scotland and London starting in 2015 from the new platform 8 & 9 (Virgin Trains).

Lime Street underground[edit]

The underground station consists of a single platform, alongside the Liverpool Loop tunnel, a single track tunnel bored in the 1970s, and a ticket hall above. The station is connected to the mainline station by means of a pedestrian subway and escalators, accessed via a long passageway which crosses beneath Lime Street itself, and by a lift from the main concourse. The station closed for refurbishment work in April 2013, reopening in August the same year.[7]

The Merseyrail Wirral Line trains operate on a 5-minute frequency Monday-Saturday, and between 5 and 10-minute frequency on Sunday.

Off-peak service is as follows:
4 trains per hour to Chester
2 trains per hour to Ellesmere Port
4 trains per hour to West Kirby
4 trains per hour to New Brighton

As part of a programme of improvements by Merseytravel, the underground station has been fitted with automatic ticket barriers and machines.

A new M to Go shop in the low level of the station was opened in late 2011.


The main station is currently served by five train operating companies serving a wide variety of destinations, but the service has been much reduced in recent times. For example it is no longer possible to travel directly to Edinburgh, Plymouth, Southampton and Cardiff without changing trains. Services out of Lime Street (as of May 2014) are as follows:

East Midlands Trains
East Midlands Trains operate an hourly service to Norwich via Warrington Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield and Nottingham. Late afternoon and evening services terminate or start at Nottingham.

First TransPennine Express
TransPennine Express operates an hourly service to Newcastle Central via Manchester Victoria, Leeds and York as well as an hourly service to Scarborough via Warrington Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds and York. Late services start or terminate at York and Manchester Piccadilly.

London Midland
London Midland operate a half hourly service to Birmingham New Street via Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford and Wolverhampton. Late services services also terminate/start at Crewe or Stafford. Limited service to/from London on weekdays calling at Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn, Crewe, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, Stone, Stafford, Rugeley Trent Valley, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby and Northampton. A number of services are extended beyond Birmingham New Street to start or terminate at Walsall or Birmingham International.

Northern Rail
Northern Rail are the main train operating company out of Lime Street, and run the ticket office. Services include:

Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains operate an hourly Pendolino service to London Euston calling at Runcorn, Crewe and Stafford (peak services call at Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Milton Keynes Central and Watford Junction).

The underground station is situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, which has services to New Brighton, West Kirby, Ellesmere Port and Chester. To reach destinations on the Northern Line of the network, passengers must either use the Wirral Line and change at Liverpool Central station or walk the short distance to the station.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Terminus   East Midlands Trains
Liverpool – Norwich
  Liverpool South Parkway
Terminus   First TransPennine Express
Liverpool - Newcastle
  Manchester Victoria
Terminus   First TransPennine Express
Liverpool - Scarborough
  Liverpool South Parkway
Terminus   London Midland
Liverpool - Birmingham
  Liverpool South Parkway
Terminus   Northern Rail
Liverpool – Wigan
  Edge Hill
Northern Rail
Liverpool to Manchester Line
Terminus   Northern Rail
Liverpool-Manchester Airport
Technology Park
Huyton   Northern Rail
South Parkway-Lime Street-Blackpool
  Liverpool South Parkway
Terminus   Virgin Trains
WCML Liverpool Branch
Moorfields   Merseyrail
Wirral Line
City Loop
  Liverpool Central
Future services
Terminus   High Speed 3   Manchester Piccadilly

Proposed services[edit]

Renaissance Trains have proposed a twice-daily service from Lime Street to Glasgow Central, with weekend trains running instead from Blackpool to Glasgow. As of 2009, the company is attempting to negotiate train paths with Network Rail.[8]

Proposals to upgrade the Halton Curve have been considered by, among others, Merseytravel and the North Cheshire Rail User's Group.[9] This would provide a second rail route between Liverpool and Wrexham, this one running via Chester (Providing express Liverpool to Chester services), and would permit the introduction of new direct services from Liverpool to Llandudno and other parts of North Wales.

Electrification of the former Liverpool and Manchester Railway's route, and the line to Wigan via St Helens Central, by December 2014, as well as the completion of electrification of the Huddersfield Line beyond Manchester, in 2016, will lead to a major recast of timetables. The current First TransPennine Express service to Scarborough will be re-routed via Earlestown and Manchester Victoria and diverted to Newcastle Central along the ECML. Another possibility could be the return of direct services to Edinburgh & Glasgow over the WCML by splitting from and joining to the existing services from Manchester to Scotland at Preston, though no firm proposals have yet been submitted. There were also question marks as to whether suitable electric rolling stock will be available in time for the completion of the work,[10] however, it was confirmed in April 2014 that electric trains will be available to operate the new electric services with the first trains being introduced from December 2014 and more entering service during 2015.[11]

It is also proposed by 2016 that London Midland will also operate an hourly service to London Euston.

Withdrawn services[edit]

Certain direct trains to and from Liverpool Lime Street station have been withdrawn since 2000. These include the following services:

In addition, former British Rail services to Scotland, Wrexham and other parts of North Wales, Bradford Interchange, Harwich and Leicester no longer operate.


  1. ^ "Commercial information". Our Stations. London: Network Rail. April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Basic Site Details - Lime Street Station". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Lime Street Station". Archived from the original on 8 August 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Liverpool Lime Street voted nation's best station". Newsquest Media Group. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ken Dodd & Bessie Braddock - Sculpture at Lime Street Station". Liverpool Monuments. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Liverpool Lime Street Station, United Kingdom". Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Siddle, John (3 September 2012). "Liverpool James Street station partially closed as part of £40m Merseyrail upgrade". Liverpool Echo (Trinity Mirror Merseyside). Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Glasgow Trains". Renaissance Trains. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  9. ^ "Halton Curve Campaign". North Cheshire Rail Users' Group. Retrieved 6 August 2009. 
  10. ^ Cox, Charlotte (26 August 2013). "The next train for Liverpool... might not exist". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Northern Announces Electric Trains For North West". Northern Rail. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 

External links[edit]