Liverpool Central railway station

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Liverpool Central National Rail
Merseyrail Class 507s, Liverpool Central railway station (geograph 3787001).jpg
Two Class 507 trains on the Northern Line platforms
Place Liverpool
Local authority Liverpool
Coordinates 53°24′16″N 2°58′47″W / 53.4045°N 2.9797°W / 53.4045; -2.9797Coordinates: 53°24′16″N 2°58′47″W / 53.4045°N 2.9797°W / 53.4045; -2.9797
Grid reference SJ349901
Station code LVC
Managed by Merseyrail
Number of platforms 3
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  0.982 million
2005/06 Increase 1.294 million
2006/07 Increase 7.170 million
2007/08 Increase 8.890 million
2008/09 Increase 19.635 million
2009/10 Decrease 18.413 million
2010/11 Decrease 17.958 million
2011/12 Decrease 14.224 million
2012/13 Decrease 13.522 million
2013/14 Increase 14.622 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone C1
2 March 1874 Opened (High Level)
11 January 1892 Opened (Low Level)
17 April 1972 Closed (High Level)
28 July 1975 Closed (Low Level)
9 May 1977 Reopened (Low Level)
23 April 2012


(Low Level Refurbishment)
25 August 2012

Partially Reopened

(Concourse and Wirral line)
22 October 2012 Fully Reopened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Liverpool Central from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Liverpool Central railway station in Liverpool, England, forms a central hub of the Merseyrail network, being on both the Northern Line and the Wirral Line. The station is located underground on two levels, below the site of a former mainline terminus. In 2008/09 Liverpool Central station was the busiest station in Liverpool, though considerably smaller than Lime Street station, the mainline terminus. In terms of passenger entries and exits between April 2010 and March 2011, Liverpool Central is the seventh-busiest station outside London.[1] The station is the busiest underground station outside of London serving 40,000 people daily.

Liverpool Central is one of nine stations on the Merseyrail network to incorporate automatic ticket gates. The main concourse is part of a shopping centre and includes a subway link to the former Lewis's department store. The station is currently being refurbished as part of the multi-million pound Central Village development. The Wirral and Northern line platforms closed on 23 April 2012, with the Wirral line platforms reopening on 25 August 2012 and the Northern line platforms on 22 October 2012. This was to allow improvement works to take place, primarily to the platform area of the station.[2]


High level terminal station[edit]

The original station, which was a large above ground terminal station, opened on 2 March 1874, at the end of the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) line to Manchester Central. It replaced Brunswick station as the CLC's terminus, and became the headquarters of the committee. The three-storey building fronted Ranelagh Street in the city centre, with a 65 feet (20 m) high, arched shed behind.

There were 6 platforms within the station, offering journeys to Manchester Central (in 45 minutes, making the route the quickest and most direct between Liverpool and Manchester), London St. Pancras, Hull, Harwich, Stockport Tiviot Dale, Southport Lord Street and an alternative London route to that of the Midland Railway terminating at London Marylebone.

Until the nationalisation of Britain's railways, the station was always busy, but as with many other stations in the UK, it was closed under the Beeching Axe, as the routes served could be taken from nearby Liverpool Lime Street. In 1966, most services on the CLC route were diverted to Liverpool Lime Street via the Hunts Cross chord, leaving only a dozen urban commuter trains per day to and from Gateacre. These final services were withdrawn on 17 April 1972 with a promise to reinstate the Gateacre route when the Merseyrail network was completed in 1978.

The High Level station was demolished in 1973, after having served a short time as a car park, although some former station buildings remained while work was in progress on rebuilding the underground station in the mid seventies. The area of the train shed now forms the centre of the planned Central Village development.

Underground urban station[edit]

A 1909 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing railways in the vicinity of Liverpool Central – low level station (Mersey Railway) in purple; high level station (Cheshire Lines) in orange

On 11 January 1892 Liverpool Central Low Level station opened, at the end of the Mersey Railway's route, via the Mersey Railway Tunnel from Birkenhead, when the route was extended from James Street. The Mersey Railway platforms were underground, accessed from stairs within the High Level station and situated in roughly the same position as the escalators accessing the Merseyrail Northern Line today.

The Mersey Railway tunnel was aligned with the high level station's approach tunnel from the south. This was to ensure minimum engineering work if ever there was to be a link up of the two tunnels – as occurred when the two tunnels were linked in the 1970s.


In the 1970s, the Merseyrail network was created by merging separate railways into one comprehensive network. Central underground station would service the Northern Line and Wirral Lines.

A new loop tunnel was built in Liverpool city centre for Wirral Line trains, linking James Street with Moorfields, Lime Street, Liverpool Central and returning to James Street. A new deep-level underground platform was built at Liverpool Central as part of this loop tunnel.

The former CLC route was taken underground connecting to the underground Mersey Railway platforms. Another new tunnel, the Link Tunnel, allowed trains to continue northwards via Moorfields to the approach lines to Liverpool Exchange, creating one long line from Hunts Cross to Southport. Liverpool Exchange terminal station was closed in 1977. This route became the Merseyrail Northern Line. The rebuilt underground station opened by British Rail in 1977.

In the original 1970s Merseyrail plan, southbound trains would have continued to Warrington and Manchester; however, services terminated at Garston (but were later extended to Hunts Cross). At the same time, works to allow the Merseyrail Northern Line to be connected to the Victoria Tunnel were put in place, but were later abandoned. This would have allowed trains to operate to St Helens.

On 26 October 2005 a Wirral Line train derailed on the approach to Liverpool Central en route from Liverpool Lime Street.[3] There were no serious injuries; however, the design of the Liverpool Loop meant that all Wirral Line services through the Loop were suspended for the remainder of the week, terminating at James Street.

The statistics for interchanges at this station exclude exchanges between trains, estimated at around 2 million,[4] and concessionary pass holders.


Liverpool Central Sign

At street level is a travel centre opened in November 2009 which sells tickets, newspapers, food and drink, replacing the former ticket office and newsagents. There are also toilets, cash and food vending machines. Escalators and lifts lead to the two Northern Line platforms and the deep-level Wirral Line platform.


There are plans to develop the car park behind Central Station (bounded by the rear of the station, Cropper Street, Newington and Bold Street) into Central Village. The 'village' will consist of a high rise tower for residential and business use, retail outlets, bars and restaurants and will also have a canal running the length of Bold Street. Planning permission has been granted to develop this area, which has been relatively derelict since the demolition of the High Level Station in the 1970s.[5]

Station improvements[edit]

It was announced in September 2011 that all five of Liverpool's underground stations had secured £40 million investment from Network Rail to allow improvement works to take place, with half that amount earmarked for Central Station refurbishment. The entire station closed on 23 April 2012 to allow necessary improvement works to take place, primarily to the platform area of the station, although the concourse will also see minor improvements. Some of the improvements at Central Station include an additional lift, new escalators and refreshed wall cladding, among others.[2] The single Wirral Line platform at Liverpool Central reopened on 25 August 2012, and the Northern Line platforms (1+2) reopened on 22 October 2012.[citation needed] The DfT (Department for Transport) has just announced funding for a second lift at the station.


Wirral Line platform before refurbishment
Wirral Line platform after refurbishment
A Northern Line train at Liverpool Central before refurbishment
Northern Line platform after refurbishment

On the Northern Line, off-peak service level is as follows:

During late evenings, frequencies are reduced to 2 trains per hour on the Kirkby and Ormskirk branches; the Southport and Hunts Cross service retains 4 trains per hour.

Sunday services reflect the evening service, but the service from Southport to Hunts Cross is also reduced to 2 trains per hour except for summer Sundays when it remains at 4 trains per hour between Liverpool Central and Southport.

On the Wirral Line, off-peak service level is as follows:

There are also extra services between Liverpool Central and Hooton during peak times. During late evenings and on Sundays, frequencies are reduced to 2 trains per hour on all branches.[6] These services are all provided by Merseyrail's fleet of Class 507 and Class 508 EMUs.

Northern to Wirral services[edit]

Empty Coaching Stock (non-passenger) services have to reverse at Liverpool Central station, when going from Kirkdale Depot to Birkenhead North TMD and vice versa, making use of a single track chord known as the "Stock Interchange Line" linking Liverpool James Street station (Wirral Line) and Liverpool Central (Northern Line). No passenger services are scheduled to use the link, although it could be used.[citation needed]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Moorfields   Merseyrail
Northern Line
Hunts Cross-Southport
Northern Line
Liverpool Lime Street   Merseyrail
Wirral Line
  James Street

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pigott, Nick, ed. (June 2012). "Waterloo still London's busiest station". The Railway Magazine (Horncastle, Lincs) 158 (1334): 6. 
  2. ^ a b "Liverpool underground stations get £40m overhaul". BBC News. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Rush-hour commuter train derailed". BBC News. 26 October 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2007. 
  4. ^ "Station Usage 2005/06" (PDF). National Rail usage statistics (2005/2006). DeltaRail. May 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  5. ^ Katie Daubney (12 May 2009). "Go-ahead for Liverpool Central Village". PlanningResource. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "Wirral Line Train Times – 8 December 2013 to 17 May 2014" (PDF). Merseyrail. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 

External links[edit]