Manchester Victoria station
Victoria Railway Station frontage (1909) and the modern internal concourse (2015)
|Place||Manchester city centre|
|Local authority||City of Manchester|
|Number of platforms||6|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|1993–96||Northern portion reconstructed|
|Listed feature||Victoria Station including concourse to rear with restaurant and booking hall|
|Listing grade||Grade II listed|
|Added to list||20 June 1988|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Manchester Victoria from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Manchester Victoria station in Manchester, England is a combined mainline railway station and Metrolink tram stop in Manchester city centre. It lies to the north of the city centre on Hunts Bank, close to Manchester Cathedral and is adjoined to the Manchester Arena, which was constructed on part of the former station site in the 1990s. First opened in 1844, Victoria is Manchester's third busiest railway station after Piccadilly and Oxford Road, and the second busiest station managed by Northern after Oxford Road.
The station hosts local and regional services to destinations in Northern England, such as Rochdale, Bradford, Leeds, Newcastle, Huddersfield, Wigan, Southport, Blackpool and Liverpool using the original Liverpool to Manchester line. Most trains calling at Victoria are operated by Northern, except for TransPennine Express services from Liverpool to Newcastle and during engineering works, when some trains are diverted from Piccadilly.
Manchester Victoria is a major interchange for the Metrolink light rail system. Several former railway lines into the station have been converted to tram operation. The line to Bury was converted in the early 1990s in the first phase of Metrolink construction and the line through Oldham to Rochdale was converted during 2009–2014. Trams switch to on-street running when they emerge from Victoria Station and continue southwards through the city centre to Piccadilly or Deansgate-Castlefield.
In 2009, Victoria was voted the worst category B interchange station in the United Kingdom. The station underwent a two-year £44 million modernisation programme which was completed in August 2015. Renovation entailed electrification of lines through the station, renewed Metrolink stop with an additional platform, restoration of listed features, upgraded retail units, and a new roof. In the Northern Hub proposals, Victoria will become the rail hub for trans-Pennine services when the Ordsall Chord is completed in 2018, and passenger numbers are expected to rise to 12 million when the station serves more destinations.
- 1 History
- 2 Layout
- 3 Architecture and features
- 4 National Rail services
- 5 Victoria tram stop
- 6 Accidents and incidents
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
The Manchester and Leeds Railway (M&LR) was founded in 1836 and the company began building its line between Manchester and Leeds in 1837. Originally its line terminated at Manchester Oldham Road which opened on 3 July 1839. The company realised it would be advantageous to join its line to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) creating a through route from Liverpool to Yorkshire with a joint station serving the centre of Manchester. In 1839 Samuel Brooks, vice-chairman of the M&LR, bought land at Hunt's Bank close to the cathedral and presented it to the company for the new station. The site was on the north bank of the River Irk, between the workhouse to the north which had opened in 1793 and Walker's Croft Cemetery to the south. After several years of negotiations between the companies, work started in 1842. The M&LR built an extension from Miles Platting to the station which opened on 1 January 1844. On this date, the Oldham Road terminus was closed to passenger services and became a goods station. The new station had a 852 ft (260 m) long single platform which handled M&LR trains to Leeds and elsewhere at its eastern end. The L&MR extended its line from Ordsall to Victoria and its trains operated from the western end from 4 May 1844, on which date its Liverpool Road station terminus also became a goods station. 
The station was named Victoria in 1843. Its long, low single-storey building designed by George Stephenson was completed by John Brogden and was approached by a wooden footbridge over the River Irk before the river was culverted. Most of the original 1844 station buildings are standing including part of the original façade on Hunt's Bank, and some parts have been incorporated into later expansions.
The L&MR became part of the Grand Junction Railway in 1845, which in turn amalgamated with other railways to create the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1846, and the M&LR amalgamated with other railways to create the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) the following year. The headquarters of the L&YR were based alongside Victoria.
By the mid-1840s six railway companies operated from the station connecting Manchester to London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield. Victoria Station dominated the Long Millgate area and was one of the biggest passenger stations in Britain.
Victoria underwent several phases of expansion as traffic grew. In 1865, four bay platforms were built on the eastern side on land reclaimed from the cemetery, and another was built on the western side, a second through platform was built at the northern side, and the station's facilities were expanded by the construction of the east wing. Two decades later, the L&YR purchased the workhouse north of the station and its site was used to build another bay and five through platforms which came into use in 1884. That same year, the LNWR opened Manchester Exchange immediately to the west of Victoria, on the opposite side of the River Irwell allowing the LNWR to vacate Victoria.
Victoria reached its maximum extent of 17 platforms in 1904, when the station was enlarged with extra bay platforms to the south. The present station façade, designed by William Dawes, was built in 1909. The cast-iron train sheds behind the façade were 700 yards (640 m) long.
Because the station handled large amounts of parcel and newspaper traffic, an overhead parcels carrier system was constructed in 1895. It consisted of an electrically powered trolley suspended from an overhead track operated by an airborne attendant. A large basket could be raised and lowered from the trolley to distribute parcels and newspapers across the station. The system operated until 1940.
The L&YR merged with the LNWR on 1 January 1922. A year later, the merged company became the largest constituent of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). From 16 April 1929, Victoria and Exchange station were linked by the westward extension of platform 11 over the Irwell bridge. It joined Exchange's platform 3 creating Europe's longest platform at 2,238 feet (682 m) and could accommodate three trains. Exchange Station closed in 1969 and its services were transferred to Victoria. The Exchange Station site opposite the cathedral is now a car park.
The station suffered bomb damage during the Manchester Blitz in World War II. On 23 December 1940, several bombs hit the station destroying the parcels office, and a large part of the roof over platforms 12 to 16. The parcels office was later rebuilt, but the damaged parts of the roof were taken down and not replaced. The station came into the ownership of British Railways in 1948.
Proposals to build an underground station, Victoria Low Level, under the station, as part of the Picc-Vic tunnel project emerged in the 1970s. The scheme proposed creating a direct rail link between Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly via a tunnel and creating several underground stations in Manchester city centre. Platforms 1–4 at Victoria were taken out of use in 1973 in anticipation of the tunnel coming to the surface in that part of the station. The project was cancelled because of high costs, and transport planners turned instead to light rail as a lower-cost option.
As a result the stations were eventually linked by the Manchester Metrolink system which opened in the early 1990s. A street-level tramway was built across the city centre linked the stations, and two converted rail lines to Altrincham and Bury. The tram stop at Victoria opened in 1992 to replace the former Bury Line railway platforms, and the tram line was extended into the streets through a new entrance in the side of the station.
In the 1980s and 90s, British Rail adopted the policy of concentrating Manchester services into Manchester Piccadilly. In 1989, the Windsor Link chord in Salford opened, enabling many of Victoria's services from the north to be diverted to Piccadilly. That same year year, the trans-Pennine services were also transferred from Victoria to Piccadilly. Victoria was reduced in size to six platforms, and part was sold for development. Between 1992 and 1994, the Manchester Arena was built over the northern part of the station site. Three of the five through tracks between platforms 11 and 12 were removed, along with platforms 12-17. The station was reduced to four through tracks and four through platforms, three of which were built to replace the removed platforms 12-14. These platforms were covered by the Arena which was joined to the station by means of a raft above them. The Arena is accessed via stairs on Hunts Bank and from the station concourse. Following reconstruction, the platforms were renumbered; platforms 1 and 2 are bay platforms facing east (formerly platforms 9 and 10), and the through platforms are 3 to 6 (platform 3 was formerly platform 11). The through platforms are used by mid-distance services.
In 2009 Victoria was identified as the worst category B interchange station because of its dilapidated fabric and environment. The Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, announced that, with nine others, it would receive a share of £50 million for a refurbishment programme. Victoria's £5m share of the 'Better Stations' Network Rail funding for improvements was cancelled in the June 2010 budget cuts, but replacement funding was arranged. On 16 February 2010 Network Rail announced its intention to refurbish the station as part of the Northern Hub improvement proposals turning it into an interchange for local and regional services throughout north-west England. In August 2010, Network Rail announced the work would go ahead, despite the withdrawal of the £5 million funding. Station improvements included an ETFE roof, restoration of its walls, exterior canopy and period features, new platforms for additional services, improved access to the Manchester Arena and improved retail and dining facilities.
Work on restoring the station began in April 2013. The old roof was dismantled in autumn 2013. Installation of the £17 million ETFE roof began on 4 May 2014, and the 15th and final roof beam was lifted into position on 13 October 2014. Installation of the ETFE sheeting was completed in spring 2015, and the station upgrade was completed in August 2015, with the official reopening that October.
The Ordsall Chord linking Victoria to Piccadilly will be operational in 2016 and additional platforms will be built by 2019 to provide extra capacity. It is anticipated that, after re-routing services, passenger numbers will increase to 12 million by 2019, compared with 6.6 million in 2011/12. Construction of the Ordsall Chord will allow trains to run directly between Piccadilly and Victoria, shortening journey times on TransPennine Express routes between Manchester Airport and Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Hull and Scarborough. An express service from Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle via Victoria is operated by TransPennine Express. Reinstatement of the south and west curve at Todmorden on the Caldervale Line facilitated a direct service between Victoria and Burnley Manchester Road Station for the first time in almost fifty years. As part of Network Rail's electrification strategy, overhead electric wires will be erected from Victoria to Liverpool, Preston via Bolton, and Blackpool, and on the North TransPennine route to York via Leeds, allowing most services to be operated by electric traction.
Manchester Victoria has six railway platforms and the Metrolink stop has four (four platform faces on three tracks). Two of the railway platforms are bays numbered 1 & 2 for terminating trains arriving from the east, and four are through platforms numbered 3-6 at the northern side of the station. The Metrolink platforms are parallel to, and south of the bay platforms. Only the bay and Metrolink platforms are under the new roof, with the through platforms 4, 5 and 6 mostly covered by Manchester Arena.
Architecture and features
The station's 1909 Edwardian neo-Baroque façade is 160 yards (146 m) long and has an ornate iron and glass canopy covering the waiting area for taxis. The canopy bears the names of some of the destinations that the station served at one time. It was damaged by the Provisional IRA's 1996 bomb and was restored four years later.
A number of heritage features inside the concourse were restored during the 2013-15 renovation, they include the café with a domed glass roof which was originally the first class dining room and the original 1909 wood-panelled booking office. In the entrance is a large white glazed brickwork map showing the former network of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Underneath it is a bronze World War I war memorial with effigies of Saint George and Saint Michael at each end which was installed in 1923.
At the south end of the concourse is the 'soldier's gate' which opened to the former fish docks from where thousands of soldiers departed for World War I and where a bronze plaque was erected to commemorate them. The gateway was restored in 2015 and a steel screen inserted featuring a map of World War I Commonwealth grave cemeteries in Northern France and Belgium.
National Rail services
Manchester Victoria is served by two train operating companies, Northern and TransPennine Express for its Liverpool to Newcastle service. It is occasionally used by CrossCountry services during engineering works. The Chat Moss route to Liverpool is operated by TransPennine Express Class 185s DMUs and Northern Class 319 EMUs The Ribble Valley Line to Blackburn and Clitheroe is operated by Class 156 and Class 150 DMUs. Leeds Calder Valley services are usually operated by Class 158 Sprinter DMUs
Sometimes night services between Manchester Airport and York operate via Victoria, but do not call and continue via Ashton-under-Lyne to rejoin the usual route at Stalybridge or continue via Rochdale and Hebden Bridge before reaching Huddersfield.
- 2 trains per hour (tph) to Wigan Wallgate (via Bolton)
- 1tph to Kirkby (via Atherton)
- 1tph to Southport (via Atherton)
- 1tph to Blackpool North
- 1tph to Clitheroe
- 2tph to Liverpool Lime Street (1 TransPennineExpress ,1 Northern stopping)
- 1tph to Blackburn via Todmorden
- 1tph to Stalybridge (stopping)
- 1tph to Huddersfield
- 3tph to Leeds (2 via Bradford Interchange & 1 via Dewsbury)
- 1tph to Newcastle (express via Huddersfield, Leeds and York)
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Ribble Valley Line
|London and North Western Railway
|Liverpool Lime Street||TBA
High Speed 3
|Liverpool Lime Street||TBA
High Speed 3
Victoria tram stop
Victoria tram stop in October 2015
Location of Victoria in Greater Manchester
|Place||Manchester city centre|
|Local authority||City of Manchester|
|Fare zone information|
|Metrolink Zone||D (City)|
|Present status||In operation|
|Conversion to Metrolink operation||6 April 1992|
|UK Trams portal|
Manchester Victoria is an interchange with the city's Metrolink light rail system. The stop is at the northern edge of the system's City Zone and the starting point of the Bury and Oldham and Rochdale Lines.
The tram platforms opened on 6 April 1992 for services to Bury which replaced the long-established heavy rail service. The tram platforms were built on the site of the former railway platforms 5 to 8, which had been the terminus of the Bury line. The line was extended into the city-centre streets via a sharp curve south from the platform ends and out through a new entrance in the wall at the side of the station; The system operates on British Rail lines that have been converted to light rail operation, linked with on-street tram tracks. In October 2009 the Oldham Loop Line was closed for conversion to a Metrolink line. It was completed in March 2014 after reopening in stages to Rochdale town centre.
The 1992 Metrolink platforms consisted of an island platform containing platforms B and C, and a side platform for Bury bound trams lettered A, which was later taken out of use due to leaks in the station roof.
The Metrolink platforms at Victoria closed temporarily on 21 February 2014. They were rebuilt in a different configuration to allow for the expansion of services. In October 2014 it was announced that Metrolink services stopping at Victoria station would not resume until early 2015. The stop reopened on 18 February 2015. The new configuration has two island platforms serving three tracks, with platform faces lettered A, B, C and D; the outer platforms A and D are for through trams, south and northbound respectively, and the centre platforms B & C, which both serve the same track, will accommodate terminating services. The stop is one of the most used on the Metrolink network.
|Preceding station||Manchester Metrolink||Following station|
towards East Didsbury
|East Didsbury – Shaw and Crompton Line||
towards Shaw and Crompton
|East Didsbury – Rochdale Town Centre Line||
towards Rochdale Town Centre
|Altrincham – Bury Line||
|Bury – Piccadilly Line|
Accidents and incidents
- On 19 August 1918, an electric train collided with the buffers, injuring 29 people.
- On the early morning of 10 December 1947 a train of 20 tank wagons loaded with petrol ran out of control while descending the bank towards Victoria. To avoid a collision with another train, it was diverted into the empty bay platform 7, where it crashed through the buffers at 25 mph, mounted the concourse, and came to a rest just short of the booking office. Swift action was taken to prevent an outbreak of fire, however the train driver was killed in the collision, the fireman was injured and the guard suffered from shock.
- On 25 April 1994, two vehicles of a freight train derailed while passing through the new platform six, which had just opened that day. The derailed vehicles caused damage to the edging stones of the platform along most of its length, putting it out of use until repairs could be made.
- On 15 June 1996 a large truck bomb was detonated around 400 metres from the station by the Provisional IRA: the blast shattered many of the windows along the station's outer buildings, and much of the glass fell onto the canopy covering the streets below, causing it serious damage. The station was closed for several days after. It also caused damage to the glass and steel roof over the concourse and platforms, which later resulted in the removal of much of the glasswork and the cladding at the end of the roof.
- On 18 October 2016, a panel of the station's new roof which had been built the year before, collapsed under the weight of rain water, causing minor injury to two people. The collapse was later found to have been caused by seagulls weakening the structure by pecking at the roof.
- On 22 May 2017, the station was evacuated and closed, and services were cancelled following the bombing at Manchester Arena which is partially above the station. The explosion took place in the public area which links the station to the Arena, immediately above the station's through platforms, causing structural damage to the station, which remained closed until the damage had been assessed and repaired, resulting in significant disruption to train and tram services. The station reopened to traffic on 30 May 2017, following the completion of police investigation work and repairs to the fabric of the building.
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- Manchester Victoria upgrades to be finished this month
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- Wray 2004, p. 21.
- Wray 2004, pp. 30-33.
- Wray 2004, pp. 36-41.
- Wray 2004, pp. 59-62.
- Wray 2004, pp. 73-91.
- Wray 2004, pp. 64-72.
- "Overhead parcels carrier, 1919". National Railway Museum. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
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- Wray 2004, p. 120.
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- Wray 2004, p. 111.
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- "Injuries after Manchester Victoria Station roof collapse". BBC News. 18 October 2016.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manchester Victoria station.|
- Train times and station information for Manchester Victoria station from National Rail
- Tram times and station information for Manchester Victoria station from Manchester Metrolink
- More photos of the Metrolink at Victoria