Liverpool Lime Street railway station
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|Liverpool Lime Street|
The frontage at Liverpool Lime Street
|Local authority||City of Liverpool|
|Managed by||Network Rail (mainline)
|Number of platforms||9 + 1 underground|
|DfT category||A (mainline)
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|– Interchange||0.813 million|
|– Interchange||1.001 million|
|– Interchange||1.237 million|
|– Interchange||1.336 million|
|– Interchange||1.104 million|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|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 Rail – UK 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 and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Liverpool Lime Street is a terminus railway station, and the main station serving the city centre of Liverpool. Opened in August 1836, it is the oldest grand terminus mainline station still in use in the world. A large building constructed in the Renaissance Revival style fronts the station. A branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston terminates at the station, as well as TransPennine Express trains and other train services. The underground Lime Street Wirral Line station on the Merseyrail network is accessed via the main terminus. Lime Street is the largest and oldest railway station in Liverpool, and is one of 18 stations managed by Network Rail.
- 1 History
- 2 Station layout
- 3 Mainline station
- 3.1 Facilities
- 3.2 Public transport links
- 3.3 Services
- 3.4 Proposed services
- 3.5 Withdrawn services
- 4 Underground station
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Construction to nationalisation
The original terminus of the 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) was located at Crown Street, in Edge Hill, to the east of and outside the city centre. A new station in the city centre was needed. Construction of a purpose-built station at Lime Street in the city centre began in October 1833; the land was purchased from Liverpool Corporation for £9,000 (equivalent to £780,000 in 2016). A twin track tunnel was constructed between Edge Hill and the new station before the station was built in 1832; it was used to transport building materials for the station. The architects were Cunningham and Holme, and John Foster Jr.. The station opened to the public in August 1836, although construction was not completed until the following year. This building was designed with four large gateways, two of which were intentionally nonfunctional. Due to the steep incline uphill from Lime Street to Edge Hill, trains were halted at Edge Hill. Locomotives were removed from the trains and the passenger carriages were taken down by gravity, with the descent controlled by brakemen in a brake van. The return journey was achieved by using a stationary steam engine, located at Edge Hill, to haul the carriages up to Edge Hill by rope. This system, constructed by Mather, Dixon and Company under the direction of John Grantham, ended in 1870.
Within six years of opening, the rapid growth of the railways required expansion of the original station. A plan was formed to erect an iron roof similar to that found at Euston station in London, a ridge roof 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 (equivalent to £1,430,000 in 2016) and was completed in 1849 with the involvement of William Tite. Meanwhile, in 1845, the L&MR had been 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. A group of four columns, adjoining platform 1 and attributed to Edward Woods, date to the 1846–1850 rebuild of the station.
By 1857, two granite columns had been erected outside the station entrance, and had become known as the "Candlesticks". In 1867 further expansion was needed and included the present northern arched train shed. Designed by William Baker and Francis Stevenson[nb 1] and 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, designed by Stevenson and E.W. Ives; notably, it was of dry construction[nb 2] and each bay took only three days to build.[nb 3]
The station is fronted by a large building in the Renaissance Revival style, the former North Western Hotel. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the building was built in 1871 and is now accommodation for students of Liverpool John Moores University.
Upon nationalisation in 1948, the station passed to the London Midland Region of British Railways. Lime Street's present signal box was commissioned on 28 January 1948. The station concourse was redeveloped in 1955. In 1959, preparations began at Lime Street for the first stage of electrification of the West Coast Main Line. On 1 January 1962, electric services between Lime Street and Crewe officially began. On 18 April 1966, the station hosted the launch of its first InterCity service, introducing a 100 mph (160 km/h) service between Liverpool and London. On 11 August 1968, the Fifteen Guinea Special, a return service to Carlisle, was hauled by the Black Five locomotive 45110 from Liverpool to Manchester Victoria and back. The train arrived back at Lime Street at 7:58 pm, marking the end of British Railways' final steam-hauled mainline passenger journey.
An office tower block named Concourse House and a row of small shops used to stand outside the southern train shed, obscuring the arches. These dated from the 1960s, and by the 2000s had become run down. They were demolished as part of a comprehensive refurbishment completed in 2010.
With the creation of the Merseyrail urban rail network in the 1970s, four terminus stations were taken out of use in Liverpool and Birkenhead centres,[nb 4] 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.
The station concourse was again altered in 1983-4, with the total cost of refurbishment estimated at £7.4 million. This work included the construction of the black glass building which partially surrounds platforms 1 to 6, and the glass screen which separates the concourse from platforms 7 to 9. The alterations also coincided with the opening of the International Garden Festival. The new development was officially opened by Princess Anne on 29 November 1984.[better source needed]
On 20 October 2003, the Pendolino service operated by Virgin Trains, introducing a faster service between Liverpool and London, was ceremonially unveiled in the presence of Richard Branson. 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.
On the occasions of 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. Subsequently, Lime Street was voted Station of the Year 2010 at the National Rail Awards. The development was overseen by English Partnerships and was completed in October 2010.
On 31 August 2014, the Earl of Wessex unveiled a memorial to the Liverpool Pals at the station. The memorial comprises two bronze friezes, which were also sculpted by Tom Murphy. Platforms 1–5 were fully refurbished by Network Rail, also in 2014.
Electrification to Manchester and Wigan
Completion of electrification of the former Liverpool and Manchester Railway's route, and the line to Wigan via St Helens Central, in May 2015 led to a recast of timetables. This included the introduction of a brand new TransPennine Express service to Newcastle via Manchester Victoria, running alongside the existing service to Scarborough via Warrington Central and Manchester Piccadilly. It was unclear whether suitable electric rolling stock would be available in time for the completion of the work, but it was confirmed in April 2014 that electric trains would be available to operate the new electric services, and the first trains were introduced from March 2015, initially on the service to Manchester Airport, with services to Wigan North Western, Manchester Victoria and Warrington Bank Quay following over the course of the year.
2017 wall collapse
On 28 February 2017, the station was cut off after a wall collapsed into the cutting between Lime Street and Edge Hill, causing more than 200 tonnes of debris to fall onto the track. While the line was blocked, Virgin trains terminated at Runcorn and other trains terminated at Liverpool South Parkway. The debris was cleared up, with repairs made to the overhead wires, and the station reopened just over a week later on 8 March 2017.
2017–18 station remodelling
A £340m remodelling of the station began taking place in 2017. It will create two new platforms between the existing platforms 7 and 8, with other platforms being lengthened and widened. The remodelling will allow for new services to Glasgow, starting in 2019. A supermarket and new shops will also be built. The station was mostly closed for twenty-three days from 30 September 2017 (limited services ran to/from Huyton and beyond during the latter stages of this blockade). The station will again mostly close in autumn 2018 (with dates yet to be confirmed).
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 on 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 1870s. 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 similar to airport passport control, while platform 7 is now gated with the creation of new shops and facilities. Platforms 8 and 9 are still "open".
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.
Platform 6 will eventually be straightened (it is curved at present) as part of the station resignalling scheme due for completion in 2017.
There are also four non-passenger tracks. Three of these are headshunts, created in the Northern trainshed to turn locomotives around: Track A, in between platforms 1 and 2; track B, serving platforms 3 and 4; and track D, for platforms 5 and 6. There is also a platform with no passenger service between platforms 6 and 7, known as platform E, or sometimes affectionately as platform 6¾.
|The station interior and approach|
Toilets, booking offices, shops, a left-luggage office, taxi ranks and coffee bars are amongst the facilities provided. The main booking office is operated by Northern. The concourse of the station contains several shops, including branches of M&S Simply Food, Caffè Nero, Costa Coffee, Boots and WHSmith. Car parking is managed by APCOA. The station also has two taxi ranks.
The station has direct bus services to the Liverpool One bus station on the 10A, C4 and C5 routes (Until July 2017), and from the bus station for Liverpool John Lennon Airport use services 86A (frequent & night services) and 500. The bus services are provided by Arriva, and Cumfybus.
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 2016[update]) 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.
TransPennine Express operates an hourly service to Newcastle 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 Northwestern Railway
London Northwestern Railway operate a half hourly service to Birmingham New Street via Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford and Wolverhampton. Late services also terminate/start at Crewe or Stafford. A number of services are extended beyond Birmingham New Street to start or terminate at Walsall or Birmingham International.
Northern is the main train operating company at Lime Street, operating the ticket office. Services include:
- Half hourly service to Manchester Oxford Road (via Warrington Central, most local stations)
- Hourly service to Preston (limited stop)
- Half hourly service to Wigan North Western (via St Helens Central, all stations)
- Hourly service to Manchester Victoria (via Newton-le-Willows, all stations)
- Hourly service to Manchester Airport (via Newton-le-Willows, limited stop)
- Hourly service to Warrington Bank Quay (via Earlestown, all stations)
- Hourly service to Liverpool South Parkway (extended from Preston)
Virgin Trains operate an hourly Pendolino service to London Euston calling at Runcorn, Crewe and Stafford (peak services call additionally at Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Milton Keynes Central and Watford Junction).
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Terminus||East Midlands Trains
Liverpool – Norwich
|Liverpool South Parkway|
North TransPennine (Liverpool – Newcastle)
North TransPennine (Liverpool – Scarborough)
|Liverpool South Parkway|
|Terminus||London Northwestern Railway
Liverpool – Birmingham
|Liverpool South Parkway|
Liverpool to Wigan Line
Liverpool to Manchester Line
|Liverpool South Parkway|
Liverpool to Manchester Airport
WCML Liverpool Branch
High Speed 3
|Warrington Bank Quay|
As part of the TransPennine Express (TPE) franchise agreement (awarded to FirstGroup which started services in April 2016), there will be three new direct services per day to Glasgow Central via Preston along the West Coast main line. The current hourly TPE Newcastle route will also be extended via Morpeth to Edinburgh Waverley.
In 2005 Renaissance Trains proposed a twice-daily service from Lime Street to Glasgow Central, with weekend trains running instead from Blackpool to Glasgow. The proposal did not get enough investment backing, but was revived in 2014.
Chester and North Wales via the Halton Curve
Proposals to upgrade the Halton Curve have been considered by, among others, Merseytravel and the North Cheshire Rail User's Group. This would provide a second rail route between Liverpool and Chester, and would permit the introduction of new direct services from Liverpool to Wrexham, Llandudno and other parts of North Wales. In 2014, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that £10.4m of funding had been found for the Curve to reopen. In May 2015, Merseytravel published the business case for the reopening of the curve and forecast one train per hour running along the curve from Liverpool Lime Street, initially to Chester but with the potential for running to Wrexham. This would give residents in Chester/Wrexham a direct train to Liverpool Airport and the service could be running by 2018.
It was also proposed by 2016 that London Midland will also operate an hourly service to London Euston (as an extension of its existing Trent Valley semi-fast service).[needs update]
As part of the new Northern franchise agreement (awarded to Arriva, which started in April 2016), from December 2017 there will be a new "Northern Connect" service to Leeds via Manchester Victoria and Bradford Interchange (replacing the current all-stations local service to Victoria).
Certain direct trains to and from Liverpool Lime Street station have been withdrawn since 2000. These include the following services:
- Wales & West services to Cardiff and Milford Haven via the Welsh Marches.
- Virgin Trains Crosscountry services to Edinburgh, Poole, Weymouth, London Paddington, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Brighton.
- First North Western services to Chester via Warrington Bank Quay.
- Central Trains services to Cambridge and Stansted Airport.
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, opened in 1977, 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.
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 was opened in late 2011.
Network Rail announced in early 2013 that Lime Street was to be the third station to be refurbished as part of the £40 million investment which would see all Merseyrail underground stations excluding Conway Park refurbished. This included the refurbishment of the platform and the booking hall. The station refurbishment work took place between April and August 2013.
The subway linking the underground station to the mainline station was refurbished in June 2014. The subway was fitted out with new tiles, lighting, flooring and automatic doors to some of the entrances.
The underground station had WiFi installed in January 2016.
In March 2016, it was announced that the Wirral Line loop would be having its track renewed. The underground station was closed between 3 January 2017 and 18 June 2017 whilst the works took place.
- 4 trains per hour continue to New Brighton
- 4 trains per hour continue to West Kirby
- 4 trains per hour continue to Chester
- 2 trains per hour continue to Ellesmere Port
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
towards New Brighton, West Kirby,
Chester or Ellesmere Port
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- That is, without the use of mortar.
- E.W. Ives' (Edward William Ives) method was later applied to the design and construction of the Liverpool Overhead Railway.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liverpool Lime Street railway station.|
- Station information for Liverpool Lime Street (Underground) from Merseyrail