Liverpool Street station
|London Liverpool Street|
Main station concourse
Location of Liverpool Street in Central London
|Local authority||City of London|
|Managed by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||18|
Fenchurch Street 
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|— interchange||2.912 million|
|— interchange||3.144 million|
|Original company||Great Eastern Railway|
|Post-grouping||London & North Eastern Railway|
|Lists of stations|
Liverpool Street, also known as London Liverpool Street, is a central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station in the north-eastern corner of the City of London, in the ward of Bishopsgate. It is the London terminus of the West Anglia Main Line to Cambridge, the busier Great Eastern Main Line to Norwich, local and regional commuter trains serving east London and destinations in the East of England, and the Stansted Express service to Stansted Airport.
It opened in 1874 as a replacement for Bishopsgate station, which had been the Great Eastern Railway's main London terminus and which was subsequently converted into a goods yard. Liverpool Street was built as a dual-level station with an underground station opened in 1875 for the Metropolitan Railway, named Bishopsgate until 1909 when it was renamed as Liverpool Street. An additional, smaller station called Bishopsgate (Low Level) existed on the main line just outside of Liverpool Street from 1872 until 1916.
During the First World War, Liverpool Street was a target of one of the deadliest daylight air raids by fixed-wing German aircraft; the attack killed 162 people. In the build-up to the Second World War the station served as the entry point for thousands of child refugees arriving in London as part of the Kindertransport rescue mission.
The station was modernised and rationalised by British Rail between 1985 and 1992; at the same time the neighbouring Broad Street station was demolished and its lines redirected into Liverpool Street. As part of the project, the Broadgate development was constructed on the former Broad Street site. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the modified station in December 1991.
The station was damaged by the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing, and during the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks in the city seven passengers were killed when a bomb exploded aboard an Underground train just after it had departed from Liverpool Street.
With over 63.6 million passenger entries and exits in 2014–15, Liverpool Street is the third-busiest railway station in the United Kingdom after Waterloo and Victoria, also both in London. It is one of 19 UK stations managed directly by Network Rail.
It has three main exits: to Liverpool Street, after which the station is named, to Bishopsgate, and to the Broadgate development to the west of the station. The Underground station is served by the Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, and is in fare zone 1.
- 1 Main line station
- 1.1 History
- 1.1.1 A new terminus for the City (1875)
- 1.1.2 Expansion of the station (1895)
- 1.1.3 First World War and memorials (1917–1922)
- 1.1.4 Productivity experiments (1920s)
- 1.1.5 Second World War (1939–1945)
- 1.1.6 Post-war electrification (1946–60)
- 1.1.7 Redevelopment and Broadgate (1973–1991)
- 1.1.8 Recent history (1992–present)
- 1.2 Services
- 1.1 History
- 2 Underground station
- 3 London Post Office Railway station
- 4 Future developments
- 5 Bus station
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 Gallery
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Main line station
A new terminus for the City (1875)
Liverpool Street station was built as the new London terminus of the Great Eastern Railway (GER) to serve lines to Norwich and King's Lynn. The GER had been formed the merger of several railway companies, inheriting Bishopsgate station as its London terminus. Bishopsgate was inadequate for the company's passenger traffic and, being located in Shoreditch, was poorly situated for the City of London commuters the company wanted to attract; as a consequence the GER made plans for a new, more central station.
In 1865, early plans included a circa 1-mile (1.6 km) long line branching from the main line east of the company's existing terminus in Shoreditch, and a new station at Liverpool Street as the main terminus, with Bishopsgate station to be used for freight traffic. The station at Liverpool Street was to be constructed for the use of the GER and of the East London Railway, built on two levels with the underground East London line around 37 ft (11 m) below the GER and with the GER tracks supported on brick arches. The station was planned to be around 630 by 200 ft (192 by 61 m) in area, with its main façade onto Liverpool Street and an additional entrance on Bishopsgate-Street (now called Bishopsgate and forming part of the A10). The main train shed was to be a two-span wood construction with a central void providing light and ventilation to the lower station, and the station buildings were to be in an Italianate style to the designs of the GER's architect.
The line and station construction was authorised by the Great Eastern Railway (Metropolitan Station and Railways) Act 1864. The station was built on a 10 acres (4.0 ha) site previously occupied by the Bethlem Royal Hospital, adjacent to Broad Street station, west of Bishopsgate and facing onto Liverpool Street to the south; prior to the station's construction the site was part of the general urban development of London. The development land was compulsory purchased displacing around 3,000 residents of the parish of St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate. In order to offset the distress caused by the displacement of persons the company was required by the 1864 Act to run daily low-cost workmen's trains from the station.
The station's design was by GER engineer Edward Wilson and it was built by Lucas Brothers, Builders; the station roof was designed and constructed by the Fairburn Engineering Company. The overall design was approximately Gothic, built using stock bricks and bath stone dressings. The building incorporated booking offices as well as the company offices of the GER, including chairman's, board, committee, secretary and engineers' rooms. The roof was spanned by four wrought iron spans, with primarily glass glazing; two central spans of 109 ft (33 m) and outer spans of 46 and 44 ft, 730 ft (220 m) in length over the eastern main lines, and 450 ft (140 m) long over the local platforms; the station had 10 platforms, two of which were used for main-line trains and the remainder for suburban trains.
The station was built with a connection to the sub-surface Metropolitan Railway, with the station platform sunk below ground level; as a result there are considerable gradients leaving the station. The Metropolitan Railway used the station as a terminus from 1 February 1875 until 11 July 1875; their own underground station opened on 12 July 1875.
Local trains began serving the partially completed station from 2 October 1874, and it was fully opened on 1 November 1875, at a final cost of over £2 million. The original City terminus at Bishopsgate closed to passengers and was converted for use as a goods station from 1881 until it was destroyed by fire in 1964.
Expansion of the station (1895)
Although initially viewed as an expensive white elephant, within 10 years the station was working at capacity (circa 600 trains per day) and the GER was acquiring land to the east of the station for expansion. An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1888 and work started in 1890 on the eastward expansion of Liverpool Street by the addition of eight new tracks and platforms. This gave the station the largest number of platforms of any terminal station in London, until Victoria station was expanded in 1908.
The main station was extended approximately 230 ft (70 m) eastwards, additional shops and offices were constructed east of the new train shed up to the boundary formed by Bishopsgate-Street Without.
The new station's roof consisted of four longitudinally aligned arched roofs, the outer roofs were approximately 51 ft (16 m) wide, and the two inner roofs approximately 42 ft (13 m) wide in width. The roofs were set on 13 sets of piers space 30 ft (9.1 m) apart, plus an 87 ft (27 m) roof at right angles over the "circulating area" at the buffer stop end of the station.
At the north end of the station roof a parcels office was constructed over the tracks, supported on cast iron columns carrying wrought iron box and plate girders longitudinally and crosswise, on which were carried rolled steel joists; The elevated main parcel offices and side buildings required extensive and substantial foundation work, taken down to 30 ft below ground level to a clay substratum; the building was supported on multiple iron columns – the largest of which were 3 ft diameter, connected in pairs and cross strutted.
For foundations and inner walls stock bricks were used, for the base of the outer walls of the parcel office Staffordshire blue bricks were used followed by Leicester bricks, and for facing other walls of the new station Ruabon bricks and Suffock bricks were used. The four train shed roofs were carried out by Messrs. Handyside and Co., supervised by a Mr. Sherlock, the resident engineer; all the foundations, earthwork and brickwork were carried out by Mowlem & Co; the ironwork of the parcels office was carried out by Head Wrightson, approximately 620 long tons (630 t) of cast iron was used for columns, stanchions and accessories, and 1,230 long tons (1,250 t) of wrought iron for box and plate girders.
Electric power (for lighting) was supplied from an engine house located north of the station. Additional civil works included three iron bridges carrying road traffic over the railway on Skinner, Primrose and Worship Streets; the bridge ironwork was supplied and erected by the Horseley Company. John Wilson was chief engineer, with W. N. Ashbee as architect.
First World War and memorials (1917–1922)
During the First World War, on 13 June 1917, a daylight air raid on London with 20 Gotha G.IV bombers took place, the first such attack on the capital. The raid struck a number of sites including Liverpool Street station. Seven tons of explosive were dropped which killed 162 people and injured 432. Three bombs hit the station, of which two exploded, having fallen through the train shed roof, near to two trains, causing multiple fatalities. This was the deadliest single raid on Britain during the war.
Over 1,000 GER employees who died during the war were honoured on a large marble memorial installed in the booking hall, unveiled on 22 June 1922 by Sir Henry Wilson. On his return home from the unveiling ceremony, Wilson was assassinated by two Irish Republican Army members. He was commemorated by a memorial plaque adjoining the GER monument, unveiled one month after his death.
The GER memorial was relocated during the modification of the station and now incorporates both the Wilson and Fryatt memorials, as well as a number of railway related architectural elements salvaged from demolished buildings.
Productivity experiments (1920s)
In the early 1900s successful applications of electric traction suggested that electrification could be viable on the heavily used local services out of London termini, and after the First World War the GER required increased capacity out of Liverpool Street. However, the company was not able to undertake the cost of electrification; high powered, high tractive effort steam locomotives such as the GER Class A55 were a possible solution providing high acceleration usually associated with electric traction, but were rejected due to the high track loadings. An alternative optimisation scheme was followed using a combination of automatic signalling and modifications to the layout at Liverpool Street. The station introduced coaling, watering, and other maintenance facilities directly at the station, as well as separate engine bays and a modified track and station layout in an effort to reduce turnaround times and increase productivity. Services began on 2 July 1920 with trains to Chingford and Enfield running every 10 minutes. The cost of the modifications was £80,000 compared to an estimated £3 million for electrification.
Second World War (1939–1945)
Thousands of Jewish refugee children arrived at Liverpool Street in the late 1930s as part of the Kindertransport rescue mission in the run up to the Second World War. In September 2003 the Für Das Kind Kindertransport Memorial sculpture by artist Flor Kent, who conceived the project, was installed at the station. It consisted of a specialised glass case with original objects and a bronze sculpture of a girl, a direct descendant of a child rescued by Nicholas Winton, who unveiled the work. The objects included in the sculpture began to suffer deterioration due to weather, and in 2006 a replacement bronze memorial, named Kindertransport – The Arrival, by Frank Meisler, depicting a group of children and a railway track, was installed at the main entrance on Liverpool Street. The statue of the child from the Kent memorial was re-erected separately on the concourse in 2011.
During the Second World War the station's structure sustained damage, particularly the Gothic tower at the main entrance on Liverpool Street and its glass roof, which was damaged by a bomb that landed nearby on Bishopsgate.
Post-war electrification (1946–60)
After the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933, work to electrify the line from Liverpool Street to Shenfield began in association with the London and North Eastern Railway company.
Progress had been halted by the Second World War but was given a high priority after the end of hostilities and the line between Liverpool Street and Stratford was electrified from 3 December 1946, and the full electrification of the Shenfield line at 1500V DC was completed by late 1949. At the same time electrification of London Underground services in Essex and northeast and east London led to the withdrawal of some services from Liverpool Street, being replaced with LU operations. Electrification continued with the line to Chingford electrified by November 1960.
Redevelopment and Broadgate (1973–1991)
In 1973 the British Railways Board, London Transport Executive, Greater London Council and the Department of the Environment produced a report examining the modernisation of transport facilities in Greater London. The report recommended that the reconstruction of Liverpool Street and Broad Street stations should be given high priority, also recommending financing this through development of property on the site. Liverpool Street had a number of design and access issues, many of which derived from the 1890 extension, which had effectively created two stations on one site, with two concourses linked by walkways, multiple booking halls, and inefficient traffic flows within the station. Additionally the rail infrastructure presented limitations: only seven of the platforms could stable 12-carriage trains, and the station track exit layout was a bottleneck. In 1975 British Railways announced plans to demolish and redevelop both stations. The proposed demolition met considerable public opposition and prompted a campaign led by the Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, and as a result a public inquiry took place from November 1976 to February 1977.
The inquiry resulted in the requirement to retain and incorporate the western (1875) train shed roof into the new development; the station end roof was repaired and reinforced between 1982 and 1984, followed by repairs to the main roof completed in 1987. Initial plans included the broadening of the exit of the stations by two tracks to make eight tracks, with 22 platforms in a layout similar to that of Waterloo station; the combined Broad Street and Liverpool Street station was to be at the level of the original Liverpool Street station, with relatively low-rise office developments. Poor utilisation of land value caused the development to be reassessed in 1983/4, when it was decided to retain the existing six-road exit throat and 18-platform layout, in combination with resignalling; this resulted in a station confined to the Liverpool Street site, with ground space released for development. In 1985 British Railways signed an agreement with developers Rosehaugh Stanhope and work on the office development, known as Broadgate, began.
Railway work included the construction of a chord from the North London Line to the Cambridge main line, allowing trains which had previously used Broad Street to terminate at Liverpool Street. The station was reconstructed with a single concourse at the head of the station platforms, and entrances from Bishopsgate and Liverpool Street, as well as a bus interchange in the south west corner. The Broadgate development was constructed between 1985 and 1991, with 330,000 m2 (3,600,000 sq ft) of office space on the site of the former Broad Street station and above the Liverpool Street tracks. Proceeds from the Broadgate development were used to help fund the station modernisation.
In 1988 The Arcade above Liverpool Street underground station on the corner of Liverpool Street and Old Broad Street was due to be completely demolished by London Regional Transport and MEPC, who wanted to develop the site into a five-storey block of offices and shops. More than 6,000 people signed a petition to "Save the Arcade", and the historic Victorian building still stands today. The campaign against the development was led by Graham Horwood, who owned an employment agency within the Arcade at the time.
The redeveloped Liverpool Street was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 5 December 1991. At that time a giant departures board was installed above the concourse; it was one of the last remaining mechanical 'flapper' display boards at a British railway station until its replacement in 2007.
Recent history (1992–present)
In 1992, an additional entrance was constructed on the east side of Bishopsgate with a subway under the road. The station was "twinned" with Amsterdam Centraal railway station in 1993, with a plaque marking this close to the entrance to the Underground station.
The station was badly damaged by the 24 April 1993 Bishopsgate bombing and was temporarily closed as a result. About £250,000 of damage was caused to the station, primarily to the glass roof. The station re-opened on 26 April 1993.
In 2007 the 'flapper' departures and arrivals board was removed and replaced by electronic boards.
In 2013, during excavation work for the Crossrail project, a 2 acres (0.81 ha) mass burial ground dating from the 17th century was uncovered a few feet beneath the surface at Liverpool Street. It contained the remains of several hundred people and it is thought that the interments were of a wide variety of people, including plague victims, prisoners and unclaimed corpses. A 16th century gold coin, thought to have been used as a sequin or pendant, was also found. In early 2015 full scale excavation of the burials began, then estimated at around 3,000 interments.
In advance of the full opening of Crossrail in 2019, precursor operator TfL Rail took over from Abellio Greater Anglia the Liverpool Street-Shenfield stopping "metro" service from 2015. At the same time, services on the Lea Valley Lines out of Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford transferred to London Overground.
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Trains departing Liverpool Street main-line station serve destinations across the east of England, including Norwich, Southminster, Ipswich, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Chelmsford, Southend Victoria, Cambridge, Harlow Town, Hertford East, and many suburban stations in north-east London, Essex and Hertfordshire. It is one of the busiest commuter stations in London. A small number of daily express trains to Harwich International provide connection with the Dutchflyer ferry to Hoek van Holland. Stansted Express trains provide a link to Stansted Airport and Southend Victoria-bound services stop at Southend Airport.
Most passenger services on the Great Eastern Main Line are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, but since May 2015 the Shenfield "metro" route to Shenfield is controlled by TfL Rail and the Lea Valley Lines to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford are operated by London Overground; a small number of late evening services operated by c2c run to Barking and Grays.
The typical off-peak weekday service pattern from Liverpool Street is:
Entrance from the main concourse at Liverpool Street
|Local authority||City of London|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||4|
|Accessible||Yes (Sub-surface eastbound platform only)|
|Cycle parking||Yes (platform 10 & external)|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|1 February 1875||Opened (using main line)|
|12 July 1875||Opened as Bishopsgate|
|1 November 1909||Renamed Liverpool Street|
|28 July 1912||Central line (London Underground) opened (terminus)|
|4 December 1946||Central line extended (through)|
|Lists of stations|
From 1874 to 1875 the Metropolitan Railway used the Liverpool Street main-line station as a terminus; on 12 July 1875 the company opened their own station, initially called Bishopsgate. The station was renamed Liverpool Street in 1909.
Subsurface platforms 1 and 2 were opened in 1875. A disused west-facing bay platform 3 was used by terminating Metropolitan and occasional District line trains running via Edgware Road[when?] is still extant.
In 1912 Liverpool Street became the new terminus of the Central London Railway after the completion of an extension project from Bank. The deep-level Central line platforms 4 and 5 opened on 28 July 1912 as the eastern terminus of the Central London Railway.
On 4 December 1946 the passenger line was extended eastwards as part of the war-delayed London Passenger Transport Board's New Works Programme. An Underground ticket hall was added in 1951.
London Post Office Railway station
The station is between Mount Pleasant Mail Centre and Whitechapel Eastern District Post Office, and is situated at the south end of Liverpool Street under the Great Eastern Hotel. It opened in December 1927; lifts on either side of the station as well as chutes enabled the transfer of mail to and from the main station. Two 315-foot (96 m) parcel and letter bag conveyors were connected to platforms 10 and 11 (currently used by Abellio Greater Anglia); postal traffic reached 10,000 bags daily in the 1930s, with 690 Post Office services calling. The system was discontinued in 2003.
In 2014, a team from the University of Cambridge began conducting a study in a short, double track section of unused tunnel near the platforms where a newly built tunnel for Crossrail is situated almost two metres beneath. The study is to establish how the original cast-iron lining sections, which are similar to those used for many miles of railway under London, resist possible deformation and soil movement caused by the developments.
From 2019, Liverpool Street will be fully served by Crossrail, which will be branded as the Elizabeth line, at new underground platforms to the south-west of the existing station building. Services will run westward towards Heathrow Airport or Reading via Paddington, and eastward to Abbey Wood or Shenfield via Whitechapel. A new ticket hall with step-free access is under construction next to the Broadgate development, with a pedestrian link via the new platforms to the ticket hall of Moorgate, providing direct access to London Underground's Northern line and the Northern City Line at Moorgate. Thus, Liverpool Street will appear on the Tube map as an interchange with Moorgate.
The six off-peak trains per hour that currently form the TfL Rail "metro" service from Shenfield will be doubled in frequency and diverted into the Crossrail tunnel after departing Stratford. Additionally a four train per hour peak main line service will be retained between Gidea Park and Liverpool Street which will continue to run into the existing terminus over the Great Eastern Main Line between Stratford and Liverpool Street.
Once Crossrail opens, platform 18 at the main Liverpool Street station will be decommissioned to allow platforms 16 and 17 to be extended, enabling them to accommodate longer trains.
There is a bus station to the west of the station near the Underground and Broadgate entrances, offering services to various parts of London.
In popular culture
Liverpool Street is one of the four railway stations on the British version of Monopoly, along with King's Cross, Fenchurch Street and Marylebone. All four stations were terminii of LNER services when Victor Watson redesigned the game for the British market in 1936.
The station has been used several times as the site of fictionalised terrorist attacks: in Andy McNab's novel Dark Winter the station is the target of an attack; in London Under Attack, a 2004 Panorama docu-drama portrayal of a terrorist attack on London using chlorine gas; and the drama Dirty War, (2004) portrayed a suicide terrorist attack using a "dirty bomb" near the Underground station. The station has also been used as a backdrop for a number of other film and television productions, including espionage films Stormbreaker (2006) and Mission Impossible (1996), and crime drama The Shadow Line (2011), as well as the site for staged flash mobs in the film St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (2009), and for a T-Mobile advert.
H. G. Wells' 1898 novel The War of The Worlds included a chaotic rush to board trains at Liverpool Street as the Martian machines overran military defences in the West End, and described the crushing of people under the wheels of the steam engines.
THROUGH crystal roofs the sunlight fell,
And pencilled beams the gloss renewed
On iron rafters balanced well
On iron struts ; though dimly hued.
With smoke o'erlaid, with dust endued.
The walls and beams like beryl shone ;
And dappled light the platforms strewed
With yellow foliage of the dawn
That withered by the porch of day's divan.— John Davidson, Fleet Street and Other Poems (Extract).
A licensed bar on the subsurface tube platforms (which existed until 1978, now replaced by the A Piece Of Cake cafe) is referred to in Iris Murdoch's 1975 novel A Word Child
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liverpool Street station.|
- Station information on Liverpool Street station from Network Rail
- Liverpool Street 1977 photos from 1977
- London Landscape TV episode (7 mins) about Liverpool Street station
- Alternative view of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan line platforms
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Terminus||Abellio Greater Anglia|
|Terminus||Abellio Greater Anglia|
Connection to London, Tilbury and Southend Railway
|Preceding station||London Overground||Following station|
|Terminus||Lea Valley Lines||Bethnal Green
towards Cheshunt, Chingford or Enfield Town
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
|Hammersmith & City line||
|Terminus||Eastern Region of British Railways|
|Terminus||Great Eastern Railway
Great Eastern Main Line