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||0.778 million|
|- Interchange||0.813 million|
|- Interchange||1.001 million|
|- Interchange||1.237 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.|
Liverpool Lime Street is a terminus railway station, and the main station serving the city centre of Liverpool. A large building resembling a Château 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 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.
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 being purchased from Liverpool Corporation for £9,000. A twin track tunnel was constructed between Edge Hill and the new station prior to station construction in 1832 being used to transport building materials for the station. The architects were Cunningham and Holme, with the station opening to the public in August 1836, although construction was not fully completed until the following year. Because of the steep incline uphill from Lime Street to Edge Hill, trains were halted at Edge Hill. Locomotives were removed from then train with the passenger carriages 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.
Within six years, 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, 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.
The station is fronted by a large building in the style of a French château, 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.
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.
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.
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. In 1966, the station hosted 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.
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 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". Toilets, booking offices, shops, a left-luggage office, taxi ranks and coffee bars are amongst the facilities provided.
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.
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.
As a rule of thumb, during the day:
- Platform 1 for Northern services to Manchester Airport and Wigan North Western
- Platform 2 for Northern services to Manchester Victoria
- Platform 3 for Northern services to Liverpool South Parkway
- Platform 4 for Northern services to Preston and Warrington Bank Quay
- Platforms 5 and 6 for East Midlands Trains services to Sheffield, Nottingham and Norwich, for the local stopper Northern Rail service to Manchester Oxford Road and for TransPennine Express fast services to Newcastle via Manchester Victoria
- Platform 7 for Virgin Trains services to London Euston
- Platform 8 for London Midland services to Birmingham New Street
- Platform 9 for TransPennine Express fast services to Manchester, Leeds, York and Scarborough and for Northern Rail semi-fast services to Manchester Oxford Road
Platforms are subject to change and diversions to a different platform are common, particularly when services arrive late or early.
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) as part of the station resignalling scheme due for completion in 2017.
There are also 4 non-passenger tracks. Three of these are headshunts, created in the Northern trainshed to turn locomotives around: Track A, in between platforms 1 & 2; track B, serving platforms 3 & 4; & track D, for platforms 5 & 6. There is also a platform with no passenger service in between platforms 6 & 7, known as platform E, or sometimes affectionately as platform 6¾.
A £340m remodelling of the station will take place from 2017. This 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 2018. A supermarket and new shops will also be built.
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 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 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|
Liverpool – Newcastle
Liverpool – Scarborough
|Liverpool South Parkway|
Liverpool – Birmingham
|Liverpool South Parkway|
Liverpool – Wigan
Liverpool to Manchester Line
South Parkway-Lime Street-Preston
|Liverpool South Parkway|
WCML Liverpool Branch
|Terminus||High Speed 3||Manchester Victoria|
In 2009 Renaissance Trains proposed a twice-daily service from Lime Street to Glasgow Central, with weekend trains running instead from Blackpool to Glasgow. It was not until March 2016 that Network Rail were able to confirm that this would take place, with the service made possible by the addition of two extra platforms at Lime Street. Services are expected to start in 2019.
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 finance minister, 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.
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 TransPennine Express service to Scarborough will be re-routed via Earlestown and Manchester Victoria and diverted to Newcastle Central along the East Coast Main Line. 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 (these have now been included in the new TPE franchise agreement as noted below). There were also question marks as to whether suitable electric rolling stock will be available in time for the completion of the work, 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.
It is 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).
Network Rail has confirmed that Liverpool Lime Street will be completely overhauled in 2016. The station will be closed for 8 weeks in the summer to re-signal the station and the approach. Four new high-speed train platforms will be constructed from platform 6A onwards heading towards Skelhorne Street. The Virgin Trains buildings will be moved to Skelhorne Street car park along with new lighting, a first floor new concourse for new retail units and a full row of new ticket barriers.
As part of the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchise agreements (awarded to Arriva and FirstGroup respectively that started in April 2016), there will be a number of new services operating from the station in December 2017 - a new "Northern Connect" service to Leeds via Manchester Victoria and Bradford Interchange (replacing the current all-stations local service to Victoria) and three new direct services per day to Glasgow Central via Preston. The current TPE Newcastle route will also be extended via Morpeth to Edinburgh Waverley.
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 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 was completed on 22 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.
On 21 March 2016. It was announced that the Wirral Line Loop will be having its track renewed. The underground station is due to be closed between 3 January 2017 and 18 June 2017 whilst these works take 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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- Wirral Track Renewal
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liverpool Lime Street railway station.|
- Station information for Liverpool Lime Street (Underground) from Merseyrail