Manchester Piccadilly station
|Place||Manchester city centre|
|Local authority||City of Manchester|
|Managed by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||14 (National Rail)
2 (Manchester Metrolink)
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|1842||Opened as Store Street|
|1847||Renamed Manchester London Road|
|1960||Renovated and renamed Manchester Piccadilly|
|Listed feature||Train shed at Piccadilly Station|
|Listing grade||Grade II listed|
|Added to list||6 June 1994|
|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 Piccadilly from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Manchester Piccadilly is the principal railway station in Manchester, England. Opened as Store Street in 1842, it was renamed Manchester London Road in 1847 and Manchester Piccadilly in 1960. Located to the south-eastern side of Manchester city centre, it hosts intercity and cross-country services to national destinations including London Euston, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton, Wales and Scotland, and local and regional services to destinations in Northern England including Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and York. It is one of 19 major stations managed by Network Rail.
The station has twelve terminal platforms in the train shed and two through platforms to the south of it. Piccadilly is also a major interchange with the Metrolink light rail system with two tram platforms in its undercroft.
Piccadilly is the busiest station in the Manchester station group with more than 25 million passenger entries and exits between April 2015 and March 2016, (the other major stations in Manchester are Oxford Road and Victoria). It is the fourth busiest station in the United Kingdom outside London. The station hosts services from six train operating companies. It is the second busiest interchange station outside London, with almost 3.8 million passengers changing trains there annually.
Refurbishment took five years and cost £100m in 2002, it was the most expensive improvement on the UK rail network at the time. According to an independent poll carried out in 2007, Manchester Piccadilly had the highest customer satisfaction level of any UK station, with 92% of passengers satisfied compared with the national average of 60%.
A Transport and Works Act application to build two extra platforms was made in October 2016 and construction is expected to commence after the completion of the Ordsall Chord in January 2018. High Speed 2 proposals would require five more platforms and reconfiguration of the Metrolink station.
- 1 History
- 2 Architecture
- 3 Facilities
- 4 Layout
- 5 Future proposals
- 6 National rail services
- 7 Piccadilly tram stop
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
In June 1840 the Manchester and Birmingham Railway (M&BR) opened a temporary terminus on its line to Stockport on Travis Street. Its permanent station, Store Street, adjacent to London Road opened on 8 May 1842. It had two platforms, offices and passenger amenities and by then the line extended to Crewe. A large site, 1,700 ft (518 m) long by 500 ft (152 m) wide containing terraced houses and industrial premises had been cleared to make way for the station, which was built on top of a viaduct, 30 ft (9 m) above ground level.
The station was shared from the beginning with the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway (SA&MR) after an agreement in 1837 by the promoters. The M&BR amalgamated with other railways to create the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1846, and the SA&MR changed its name to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) three years later.
Manchester London Road
The station's name was changed to London Road in 1847. In 1849 the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJA&R) began using the station when it opened its line from Manchester Oxford Road station. Its single platform, opened on 1 August 1849 to the south of, and adjacent to, the main part of the station was the predecessor of the through platforms 13 and 14. The MSJA&R's line connected to the main line just south of the station, forming a through route to the LNWR's line to Liverpool.
London Road was overcrowded by the 1850s and the relationship between the LNWR and MS&LR was poor. In 1862 the companies agreed to rebuild and expand the station so it could be divided, with the MS&LR occupying the north-eastern side and the LNWR occupying the south-western side. The rebuilt station had a new entrance and concourse and a 656 ft (200 m) long iron and glass trainshed consisting of two 95 ft (29 m) wide arched spans covering the terminal platforms, one for each company's platforms. While under construction on 20 January 1866, part of the roof collapsed killing two workmen and injuring 30 more. An enquiry found the collapse was due to strong winds and heavy snowfall. Both companies built warehouses to the northern side of the station and the viaduct south of the station to Ardwick was widened to four tracks.
Within ten years, the station was again overcrowded as traffic continued to increase and further expansion was required. Between 1880 and 1883 the LNWR widened its side of the station and added more platforms which were covered by two extra 69 ft (21 m) wide arched spans to the trainshed. At the same time the MSJ&AR platform was taken out and rebuilt as an island platform on a girder bridge over Fairfield Street. It was linked to the main station by a footbridge. The improvements were opened in May 1882.
The adjacent Mayfield station opened in 1910, providing four platforms which alleviated overcrowding at London Road. The two stations were linked by a footbridge. It closed to passengers in 1960 and closed permanently in 1986. The derelict station building still exists, and various redevelopment schemes have been proposed.
Following the 1923 railway grouping, the LNWR amalgamated with other railways to create the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and the GCR amalgamated with other railways to create the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). After nationalisation in 1948, the division of the station continued: on one side was the London Midland Region of British Railways, on the other was the Eastern Region. They continued to operate London Road as two separate stations.
Between 1958 and 1966 London Road station underwent a major reconstruction as part of British Railways West Coast Main Line modernisation programme and was renamed Manchester Piccadilly on 12 September 1960.
The London Midland Region rebuilt the station at a cost of £1.75 million (equivalent to £37,500,000 in 2017 prices) in preparation for the introduction of electric train services to London. Most of the station was rebuilt except for the Victorian trainsheds which remained mostly unaltered, although the two 1880s spans were shortened at the concourse end. Reconstruction took place in two phases, 1958–60 and 1963–66, because funding ran out due to a national credit squeeze.
The former MSJA&R through platforms and bridges over Fairfield Street were rebuilt on a pre-stressed concrete slab bridge with cantilevered sides for the tracks. The layout in the trainshed was reconfigured and more and longer platforms added. A new concourse and entrance replaced the 1860s buildings and a ten-storey office block was built alongside to house British Rail. The work was completed on 11 May 1966 in time for the introduction of electric expresses to London.
The approach to the station was also redeveloped. The LNWR goods warehouse alongside the station approach closed in 1965 and a curved office block, Gateway House was built in its place, opening in 1969.
Piccadilly remained open throughout the reconstruction but much disruption was caused to train services and extensive use was made of Manchester Mayfield and Manchester Central stations by diverted trains. When the work was completed, both stations were closed as surplus to requirements when services into Manchester from the south were concentrated at Piccadilly.
In the early 1970s, the Picc-Vic tunnel project proposed building an underground station, Piccadilly Low Level, under the station. The scheme proposed creating a direct rail link between Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria by building a tunnel and several underground stations under the city centre. The project was cancelled because of the high cost causing transport planners to turn to light rail as a lower-cost option; the stations were eventually linked by the Manchester Metrolink system that opened in the early 1990s. The street-level tramway across the city centre linked the stations and two converted rail lines to Altrincham and Bury. The tram stop in the station's undercroft opened in 1992.
Piccadilly's through platforms 13 and 14 were further lengthened in 1988/89, in connection with the opening of the Windsor Link chord in Salford which allowed trains from destinations to the north of Manchester, such as Bolton, Preston, Blackpool and Scotland to run directly into Piccadilly via the through platforms and continue south to destinations such as Manchester Airport, Stockport and Buxton. It allowed many services from the north to be diverted from Manchester Victoria, which was reduced in size, and enhanced Piccadilly's status as Manchester's main station. The link opened in 1988 and was fully operational in 1989.
Between 1998 and 2002, in preparation for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the station underwent a £100 million redevelopment. The glass roof of the trainshed, which is Grade II listed was re-glazed and re-painted. A new main entrance and enlarged concourse with a mezzanine level, designed by BDP, replaced the 1960s structure which had become insufficient for the number of passengers. A moving walkway was installed to take passengers from the concourse to platforms 13 and 14 at the far south end of the station which involves a long walk. Another entrance was also created on Fairfield Street to access a new taxi rank and drop-off point for cars.
The station has seen several different types of electrification: The first electrified line into London Road was the MSJA&R line to Altrincham, a busy commuter route. It was electrified with overhead lines at 1,500 V DC in 1931. London Road was the terminus of this electrification scheme which extended to the through platforms.
The second line to be electrified was the LNER's Woodhead Route from Manchester to Sheffield at 1,500 V DC. Work on the scheme started in the late 1930s, but was stopped due to World War II, before restarting in the early 1950s. Electrification was completed in September 1954. The two electric 1,500 V DC lines ran into different parts of the station and so did not join with each other.
25 kV AC overhead electrification, which was adopted as the national standard by British Railways was brought to London Road/Piccadilly as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification scheme starting in the late-1950s. Electrification reached from Manchester to Crewe by 1960, and to London by 1966. At the same time, the 1,500 V electrification on the Altrincham line was cut back to Oxford Road, as the newer system was extended there from the south. The Altrincham line was converted to 25 kV in 1971.
The two systems co-existed for a number of years. The Woodhead Route was closed as a through line in 1981 but local services to Glossop and Hadfield continued to be operated by 1,500 V trains until the line was converted to 25 kV in 1984.
The listed train shed roof which is 105 metres wide between platforms 1 and 12, has four spans, two spans 185 metres in length over the eastern part of the station date from the 1860s while the other two at the western side measuring 150 metres long were built in the early 1880s. The roof is supported by masonry walls with round-headed windows alongside platforms 1 and 12 and rows of cast iron columns. The roof spans have wrought iron trusses with cast iron struts on girders between the columns. The original roof was covered with slates with some glazing. The slates were subsequently replaced with boarded felt. Between 1997 and 1999 the roof was refurbished and 10,000 panes of toughened glass 'float' above the wrought iron trusses.
Below the train shed is an area once used as a goods station. Its cast iron columns and brick arches support the non-through platforms above. The area is now used by the Metrolink station, its tracks and sidings, as well as car parking. The columns were encased in concrete for protection against collision.
George W. Buck designed the original skew arch bridge over Fairfield Street with ten cast iron arch ribs as part of a long brick arch viaduct topped with open stonework parapets. The bridge was widened by adding wrought iron plate girders and transverse girders, supporting longitudinal joists with iron arch plates. As part of reconstruction in the 1960s the cast iron arches and spandrels were encased in concrete. Platforms 13 and 14 are situated on the bridge.
The main entrance leads to a concourse with ground floor and mezzanine levels. The Fairfield Street entrance leads to the Metrolink station in the undercroft and is linked to the rail platforms by escalators. Redevelopment between 1997 and 2002 revised the station layout. A glass partition wall separates the concourse from the platforms. The station's approach, constructed in 1969 along with the "wavy" fronted Gateway House by Richard Seifert, was modernised in 2003.
The Fairfield Street entrance, at basement level, serves the car park, the taxi rank, and the Metrolink station. Above it at track level is a concourse into which the main entrance feeds, housing ticket offices, information points, seating, timetables, toilets, shops, and food and drink outlets. Above the concourse is a second level of food outlets and bars, and the Virgin Trains First Class Lounge. On the main concourse, glass doors within a large glass partition lead to platforms 1 to 12. A travelator leads to the upper concourse linked by a footbridge, steps and lift to platforms 13 and 14. The island lounge contains retail outlets, toilets and a departure lounge. There are vending machines, waiting areas and snack bars on platforms 13 and 14.
Manchester Piccadilly is accessible for disabled people and has escalators and lifts to all levels, wide-access doors and gates, braille signs, hearing loops and disabled toilet facilities.
Cycle racks are available on Fairfield Street and the long-stay car park and next to the tower block at the station front. In March 2010, Manchester City Council and Network Rail unveiled plans for a 'Cycle Centre' to provide secure facilities, with maintenance and hire services.
Ticket barriers were installed in Autumn 2016 between platforms 3 and 7, following an application by Virgin Trains.
Platform 1 is at the north end of the station and the through platforms 13 and 14 are at the south end. The main entrance and concourse are to the front of the terminal platforms and the taxi and car drop-off entrance is on the southern side on Fairfield Street. The Metrolink tram line passes under the station through the undercroft. Its platforms are under the concourse and railway platforms. To the south of Piccadilly on the opposite side of Fairfield Street is the derelict Manchester Mayfield station which closed for railway use in 1986.
In 2009 the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority advocated reopening the neighbouring derelict Mayfield station to alleviate capacity problems at Piccadilly. The proposal was not advanced and plans focused on increasing track capacity on the cross-city route between Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations.
Network Rail's Northern Hub plans, costing more than £560 million, aim to improve the heavily congested rail network on the approach into Manchester. Two through platforms would be constructed at Piccadilly and the station linked to Manchester Victoria via the Ordsall Chord, cutting journey times on Trans-Pennine routes. The Ordsall Chord will make it possible for trains from the airport to travel via Piccadilly's platforms 13 and 14 and Oxford Road to Manchester Victoria and Leeds and via the Calder Valley Line to Bradford Interchange. Construction started in 2015.
Phase 2 aims to alleviate congestion at platforms 13 and 14 by constructing a parallel elevated island platform (platforms 15 and 16) to end crowding and allow the minimum time between trains to be decreased from four to three minutes, improving reliability. It will allow four more trains an hour to be timetabled to Oxford Road including a second freight to Trafford Park. Approval for the platforms, at an estimated cost of £200 million, was announced in July 2012.
The proposals aim to simplify train operations at Manchester Piccadilly, creating close associations between pairs of lines leading out of the station and particular platforms, with few crossing moves. Platforms 1 to 4 would be for services on the 'east' lines, to and from Marple, Glossop and Huddersfield; platforms 5 to 12 would be for services on the 'fast' lines, to and from Crewe and Stoke; through platforms 13 to 16 would be dedicated to services on the present 'slow' lines, to and from Manchester Airport and Hazel Grove.
In July 2013 Network Rail opened consultation on three options for the additional platforms at Piccadily, all three of which would impact on local roads and the Grade II listed Star and Garter public house.
In early 2017, doubts arose over government funding and Network Rail's commitment to the project.
High Speed 2
To accommodate High Speed 2 (HS2), an extension would require four platforms and a 7.5 miles (12.1 km) tunnel under south Manchester to join the West Coast Main Line at Ardwick. Journey times to Manchester Airport would be reduced to 9 minutes from 18, Birmingham 41 minutes from 86 minutes and London 68 minutes from 128. Station upgrades could include enhanced Metrolink services, improved road access and car parking. The line is planned to be completed by 2032.
A major redevelopment of the station and surrounding area has been proposed to complement the HS2 proposals involving the construction of a canopy over the HS2 platforms, the creation of a new entrance, and office, retail and residential development. Designs indicate that the derelict Mayfield Station and the Gateway House office block will be demolished. The plans were approved by the Government in November 2016.
Northern Powerhouse Rail "High Speed 3"
High Speed 3 proposals include new platforms under the station and the proposed HS2 platforms. Addition of Northern Powerhouse Rail and Station to the Manchester Piccadilly system will be the last step of the process of transforming the station in to a transport super hub. The NPR station and its construction will need to be considered throughout the design and implementation of the other station improvements which form the station concept but which are delivered earlier. The NPR station is proposed to stay underground on its way east as it passes through Manchester city. This provides opportunities and offers location and orientation alternatives. Staying under the existing Piccadilly station or positioning NPR under the HS2 station box will maximise interchange efficiencies and travel distances. The orientation will also dictate the number of vertical connection cores also referred to as “drums” and their locations. The drums will have the function to connect all levels of transport to one and other at critical junction points.
In October 2017, proposals emerged for an underground station as the preferred option for HS3 services with upto 8 trains per hour and connections to HS2.
National rail services
The station has 12 terminus platforms for services terminating from locations to the south of Manchester, and two through platforms, 13 and 14. The platforms are split into A and B sections to allow more than one train to stand. The through platforms 13 and 14 are used by through services via Manchester Oxford Road to North Wales, Liverpool, North West England, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and through services from Manchester Airport.
Manchester Piccadilly is currently served by six train operating companies:
- Local train services to stations in the Manchester area, primarily to destinations south and east of the city in Cheshire or Derbyshire and beyond. These include Hadfield, Glossop, Marple, Rose Hill Marple, New Mills Central, Sheffield via New Mills Central, Hazel Grove, Buxton, Crewe via Stockport or Manchester Airport, Stoke-on-Trent via Macclesfield, and Chester via Altrincham and Northwich.
- Services operate to the north and west to Liverpool Lime Street via St Helens Junction, Preston via Bolton and Southport via Wigan. Since 1 April 2016, Northern also operate the hourly service between Manchester Airport and Blackpool North that was formerly run by TransPennine Express (along with a small number of through trains to Barrow-in-Furness and Windermere via Lancaster).
- Hourly services via Chester and the North Wales Coast Line to Llandudno, calling at Manchester Oxford Road, Newton-le-Willows, Earlestown, Warrington Bank Quay, Runcorn East, Frodsham, Helsby, Chester, Shotton, Flint, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Abergele & Pensarn, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction and Deganwy. Two trains per day run to Holyhead on weekdays only and some evening terminate at Chester. Certain services to/from North Wales have been extended to Manchester Airport since the May 2016 timetable change.
- Hourly services operate via Crewe, Shrewsbury and the Welsh Marches Line to Cardiff Central, with services continuing to Carmarthen or Milford Haven. There are once daily services to Tenby & Pembroke Dock and to Fishguard Harbour.
All services (except for the 10:30 departure) are booked for a Class 175 Coradia unit. Class 158 Express Sprinter and occasionally Class 150 Sprinter units when 175s are not available. Two services are operated by Mark 3 carriages hauled by a Class 67.
- Hourly services to Bournemouth call at Stockport, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central, and Brockenhurst.
- Hourly services to Bristol Temple Meads call at Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Cheltenham Spa, and Bristol Parkway. Some services continue to Exeter St Davids, Plymouth or Paignton.
- Hourly service from Liverpool Lime Street via Piccadilly to Sheffield and Nottingham, with most trains continuing to Norwich. These services are operated by Class 158 Express Sprinter units.
TransPennine Express operate services on three routes.
- The North TransPennine route has quarter-hourly services to Leeds via Huddersfield, with one train per hour continuing to Newcastle, Hull, Middlesbrough or Scarborough. In the opposite direction, one train per hour continues to Liverpool Lime Street and two to Manchester Airport. A two-hourly service to Leeds and York operates after midnight, providing a 24-hour service.
- The South TransPennine route runs from Manchester Airport via Piccadilly to Sheffield and Cleethorpes, operating hourly.
- The TransPennine North West route has an hourly service to Edinburgh Waverley or Glasgow Central (alternating) via Wigan North Western. In the opposite direction, this continues to Manchester Airport. These services to/from Scotland now operate along the newly electrified route over Chat Moss and Wigan North Western, though at least some will revert to their former route via Bolton when that route is electrified in 2017/18.
Class 185 Desiro units operate most TransPennine Express services, with the exception of the Scottish services which are operated by Class 350 Desiro units. The Class 185s were supplemented on the Hull and Cleethorpes services by Class 170 Turbostar units until February 2016 (these have now been transferred to Chiltern Railways). A number of services on these routes to/from Manchester Airport start or end here.
- Three trains per hour to London Euston, two via Stoke-on-Trent and one via Crewe as part of the InterCity West Coast franchise, operated with Class 390 Pendolino units.
Piccadilly tram stop
Piccadilly tram stop, showing the northbound (former departure) platform, the southbound platform is behind the concrete partition on the right.
Location of Piccadilly in Greater Manchester
|Place||Manchester city centre|
|Local authority||City of Manchester|
|Fare zone information|
|Metrolink Zone||D (City)|
|Present status||In operation|
|Original operator||Manchester Metrolink|
|Opened||20 July 1992|
|UK Trams portal|
The Piccadilly Metrolink tram stop, is located at ground level in the undercroft underneath the main line station; an area of the station which was historically used for warehousing, it is one of nine stops serving Manchester city centre, within the system's City Zone. Trams enter the stop from the streets in each direction via short tunnels. There are two platforms, one for trams towards Etihad Campus and Ashton-under-Lyne , and one for trams towards Bury, Eccles and Altrincham. There are steps, lifts and escalators from platform level to a mezzanine level, and further steps, lifts and escalators to the main line station concourse. There are also entrances at ground level from the surrounding streets.
The stop was first opened on 20 July 1992, and was originally known as Piccadilly Undercroft. As the stop was built underneath the main line station platforms, British Rail required that it be built inside a protective concrete box, in order to protect the cast iron supports for the main line platforms from the possibility of collision or fire damage.
As Piccadilly was originally a terminus of the system, one platform was originally used for arrivals from Altrincham, Bury, and later Eccles, and the other platform was used for departures. Empty trams ran from the arrival platform into a reversing siding in a tunnel, where they would reverse and then enter the departure platform. The stop was built with extension in mind, and since the opening of the extension towards Ashton in 2013, the former arrivals platform is also used for departures towards Ashton as well as terminating trams, while the former departures platform now also handles arrivals from Ashton. Terminating trams use a reversing siding on the Ashton line between Piccadilly and New Islington tram stops.
The tram station was refurbished in 2008, and became the first to display the new Metrolink corporate identity. Station signage bears the yellow and silver livery as applied to the new generation of trams since 2009.
The stop is one of the most used on the Metrolink network.
As of 2017, Manchester Piccadilly stop is the terminus for Metrolink services to Bury and MediaCityUK, and a major stop on the through services between Altrincham and Etihad Campus, and Eccles and Ashton-under-Lyne. Services mostly run every 12 minutes on all routes.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manchester Piccadilly Metrolink station.|
|Preceding station||Manchester Metrolink||Following station|
|Altrincham – Etihad Campus Line||
towards Etihad Campus
|MediaCityUK – Piccadilly Line||Terminus|
|Eccles – Ashton-under-Lyne Line||
|Bury – Piccadilly Line||Terminus|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manchester Piccadilly station.|
- Train times and station information for Manchester Piccadilly station from National Rail
- Station information on Manchester Piccadilly station from Network Rail
- More photos of the Metrolink station