Manchester Oxford Road railway station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Oxford Road railway station" redirects here. For the former halt on the Varsity line, see Oxford Road Halt railway station.
Manchester Oxford Road National Rail
Oxford Road railway station entrance.JPG
The Grade-II listed timber facade of the station
Place Manchester city centre
Local authority City of Manchester
Coordinates 53°28′26″N 2°14′32″W / 53.4739°N 2.2422°W / 53.4739; -2.2422Coordinates: 53°28′26″N 2°14′32″W / 53.4739°N 2.2422°W / 53.4739; -2.2422
Grid reference SJ840974
Station code MCO
Managed by Northern Rail
Number of platforms 5
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  0.562 million
2005/06 Increase 0.625 million
2006/07 Increase 4.331[1] million
2007/08 Decrease 1.249[1] million
2008/09 Increase 5.212[1] million
2009/10 Increase 6.650 million
2010/11 Increase 7.116 million
2011/12 Decrease 7.077 million
2012/13 Increase 7.149 million
2013/14 Increase 7.555 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Greater Manchester
Original company Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway
Pre-grouping Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway
Post-grouping Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway
20 July 1849 Opened
1960 Rebuilt
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Manchester Oxford Road from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Manchester Oxford Road Railway Station is an elevated railway station in the city centre of Manchester, England. It stands at the junction of Whitworth Street West and Oxford Street. It opened in 1849 and was rebuilt in 1960. Historically a station for local services, the station has undergone re-development in recent years and is now the third busiest station in the Manchester station group.

It serves the southern part of Manchester city centre, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, and is on the most-served bus route in Europe. The station consists of a ticket office, waiting rooms, automatic ticket gates, toilets, a buffet and a newsagent. It stands on a line from Manchester Piccadilly westwards towards Warrington Bank Quay, Chester, Llandudno, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool. Eastbound trains go beyond Piccadilly to Crewe, Leeds, Sheffield and other towns across Northern England.

The station is famous for its laminated wood structures and was Grade II listed in 1995. It is described by English Heritage as a "building of outstanding architectural quality and technological interest; one of the most dramatic stations in England."[2] The station is due for major renovation from 2016 as part of the Northern Hub plan and it is expected management of the station will be taken over by Network Rail.[3]

The station has employed several cats to prevent problems caused by pigeons, rats and mice. The move has proved popular with passengers and regular commuters. They have been described as the "most photographed" cats in Manchester.[4]


The station was opened as Oxford Road on 20 July 1849 by the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJAR).[5] The station was the headquarters of the MSJAR from opening until 1904. Initially it had two platforms and two sidings, with temporary wooden buildings. To allow for extra trains in connection with the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition in Trafford in 1857, extra platforms and sidings were built. In 1874 the station was completely rebuilt. The station then had two bay platforms and three through platforms. Further reconstruction took place during 1903-04. From 1931 it was served by the MSJAR's 1500V DC electric trains to Altrincham.

From July 1959 the Altrincham electric trains began terminating at Oxford Road in two new bay platforms, still with 1500V DC electrification. The remaining three platforms were electrified at 25 kV AC from Manchester Piccadilly, one of these being a terminus platform. The whole station was rebuilt and reopened on 12 September 1960.

Due to the closure of Manchester Central railway station in 1969, further rebuilding of Oxford Road station took place: one of the bay platforms was taken out of use and a new through platform built (platform 1), the others being renumbered accordingly. The track layout was also changed so that there were now four through platforms and one bay platform. In 1971 the whole station became electrified at 25 kV AC with the re-electrification of the line to Altrincham. From this point, local trains from Altrincham started running through to Piccadilly and on to Crewe, and Oxford Road became predominantly a through station, with many fewer trains terminating there.

Use of the station increased by British Rail from May 1988 with the construction of the Windsor Link between Deansgate and Salford Crescent, connecting the lines to the north and south of Manchester. This led to further investment in the station, including the installation of computer screens.

In 1992 the station's original raison d'etre as the terminus for Altrincham disappeared with the conversion of the Altrincham line stopping service to light rail operation as part of Manchester Metrolink. Oxford Road, once served almost entirely by suburban stopping trains, now has many more longer-distance services as well.

For all the architecture acclaim the station has had to be consistently maintained particularly as a Grade II listed structure. In 2004 the station roof was partially refurbished to prevent leaking in the roof structure. In 2011, facilities such as platform shelters, seats and toilets were refurbished at a cost of £500,000.[6] In 2013 the station received a £1.8 million renovation to improve access for all people which included new lifts and an emergency exit.[7]


As part of the Northern Hub plans, the platforms will be extended to allow longer trains. Consequently platform 5 - the bay platform - will be removed to allow the platforms to be extended.[8]


Manchester Oxford Road station platforms with the distinctive canopies

As the station had become dilapidated by the 1950s, and as part of the electrification and modernisation of the Manchester to London line, it was replaced by the current building in 1960 (architects W. R. Headley and Max Glendinning, structural engineer Hugh Tottenham). This was designed in a distinctive style in concrete and wood with curves bringing to mind the Sydney Opera House.

It is a grade II listed building. In Pevsner's Architectural Guide - Manchester the following comments were made:

One of the most interesting and innovative buildings of the period was the product of the public is the most ambitious example in this country of timber conoid shell roofing.

—Clare Hartwell, Pevsner's Architectural Guide - Manchester, p.36


One of the most remarkable and unusual stations in the country both for the architectural form and the technological is the most dramatic and it is an important example of the deployment of timber to achieve large roof spans incorporating clerestory lighting.

—Clare Hartwell, Pevsner's Architectural Guide - Manchester, p.178

The choice of timber was forced by the weak viaduct the station is situated on - anything heavier such as concrete could have compromised the structural strength of the viaduct. The station consists of three overlapping conoid structures although these structures are only viewable from above the station. The light conoid roofs allow for a column-free interior space - thus maximising space and reducing load.[9]

For all the architectural acclaim the buildings received, the station's structure began to deteriorate within ten years. The roof started quickly to leak and for years the station's platform buildings were encased in scaffolding and other metalwork (partially to hold the structure up and also to prevent material falling on the platforms and passengers). Partial remedial refurbishment was completed in 2004.

Service pattern[edit]

A Northern Rail Class 142 in platform 5, the former Altrincham bay
A First TransPennine Express Class 185, at platform 4, with a service to Manchester Airport
An East Midlands Trains Class 158 at the station

This is reduced on a Sunday, most services operating hourly. There are various other peak services. All eastbound trains (those to Hazel Grove, Scarborough, Nottingham, Norwich and Manchester Airport) also call at Manchester Piccadilly.


  1. ^ a b c Figures not comparable because of changes in definition.
  2. ^ "Manchester Oxford Road station (including platform structures)". English Heritage. 3 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Our plans: Manchester Oxford Road". Network Rail. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  4. ^ "Station cat earns her own fan club". Manchester Evening News. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Dixon, Frank (1994). The Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-454-7. 
  6. ^ "Sensitive Design: It Works". Manchester Confidential. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  7. ^ Cox, Charlotte (20 September 2013). "Manchester Oxford Road station is on track for overhaul". Manchester Evening News. 
  8. ^ "Network Rail plans more trains through Manchester". BBC News. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  9. ^ "Oxford Road Railway Station". Manchester Modernist Society. 7 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Birchwood   First TransPennine Express
North TransPennine
Deansgate   First TransPennine Express
TransPennine North West Manchester - Blackpool/Barrow/Windermere/Preston
Wigan North Western
or Preston
or Bolton
  First TransPennine Express
TransPennine North West Manchester - Glasgow/Edinburgh
Irlam or
Birchwood or
Warrington Central
  East Midlands Trains
Newton-le-Willows   Arriva Trains Wales
Chester to Manchester Line
Deansgate   Northern Rail
Liverpool to Manchester Line
Newton-le-Willows or
Eccles (on Sundays)
  Northern Rail
Liverpool to Manchester Airport Line
Deansgate or
Salford Crescent
  Northern Rail
Mid-Cheshire Line
Deansgate   Northern Rail
Manchester to Preston Line
Deansgate   Northern Rail
Buxton Line
Deansgate   Northern Rail
Stafford-Manchester Line
Terminus   Northern Rail
Crewe-Manchester Line
Styal Line
Salford Crescent or
  Northern Rail
Manchester Airport-Southport
Disused railways
Line closed, station open
  BR (London Midland Region)
Mid-Cheshire Line