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Liverpool Lime Street

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Liverpool Lime Street

"Liverpool Lime Street" redirects here. For the actual street, see Lime Street, Liverpool.
Liverpool Lime Street Template:R-I Template:R-I
The frontage at Liverpool Lime Street
Place Liverpool
Local authority City of Liverpool

53°24′27″N 2°58′42″W / 53.4075°N 2.9784°W / 53.4075; -2.9784Coordinates: 53°24′27″N 2°58′42″W / 53.4075°N 2.9784°W / 53.4075; -2.9784

Grid reference SJ351905
Station code LIV
Managed by Network Rail (mainline)
Merseyrail (underground)
Number of platforms 9 + 1 underground
station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05 Increase 13.535 million
2005/06 Increase 14.472 million
2006/07 Decrease 6.377 million
2007/08 Decrease 4.338 million
2008/09 Increase 10.833 million
2009/10 Increase 10.840 million
2010/11 Increase 11.812 million
2011/12 Increase 13.835 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone C1
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 RailUK 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 Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Liverpool Lime Street is a terminus railway station, and the main station serving the city centre of Liverpool. A large building resembling a Château fronts the station. The station terminates a branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston and TransPennine Express trains. An urban through underground station on the Wirral Line 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 17 stations managed by Network Rail.[1]


The original terminus of the 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), was located at Crown Street, in Edge Hill, to the east and outside of the city centre. 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 £9000. A tunnel was constructed between Edge Hill and the new station prior to station construction in 1832. The station was opened to the public in August 1836, although construction was not completed until the following year. Because of the steep incline between Lime Street and Edge Hill, trains were stopped at Edge Hill, their locomotives removed, and the passenger carriages taken down by gravity, descent controlled by brakemen. The return journey was achieved by using a stationary engine to haul the carriages up to Edge Hill with rope.

Within six years, the rapid growth of the railways entailed expansion of the original station. A plan was made to erect an iron roof similar to that found at Euston station in London, ridge roofs 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 which, with a span of 200 foot 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.[2]

The station is elegantly 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.

A new ticket hall and office complex, which unfortunately masked the views of the arches, were constructed in 2001. 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 formed 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.

Lime Street station was part of the first stage of electrification of the West Coast Main Line in 1959. In 1966, the station saw 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 created 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.[3]

Station layout

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, while platforms 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.

The main concourse features a pair of statues of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock, a work entitled "Chance Meeting" by sculptor Tom Murphy, unveiled by Ken Dodd in June 2009.[4]

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. 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.

As a rule of thumb, during the day:

  • Platform 1 for Northern Rail services to Warrington Bank Quay and Stalybridge
  • Platform 2 for Northern Rail services to Wigan North Western
  • Platform 3 for Northern Rail services to Preston and Blackpool North
  • Platform 4 for Northern Rail services to Manchester Victoria and Manchester Airport
  • Platform 5 for Northern Rail semi-fast services to Manchester Oxford Road
  • Platform 6 for East Midlands Trains services to Sheffield, Nottingham and Norwich, and for the local stopper Northern Rail service to Manchester Oxford Road
  • Platform 7 for Virgin Trains services to London Euston
  • Platform 8 for London Midland services to Birmingham New Street
  • Platform 9 for First TransPennine Express services to Leeds and the North East (mainly Scarborough, but also Middlesbrough, Hull and Newcastle)

Platforms are subject to change and diversions to a different platform are common, particularly when services arrive late or early.

July 2013 - 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 between 2013/14.

The old platform 6A which is located next to platform 7 and is only used as a siding will become the new platform 7 in 2014. Existing platforms 7/8/9 will become new platforms 8/9/10, this will allow new long distance services to start and terminate at Lime Street to Scotland and London starting in 2015 from the new platform 8 & 9 (Virgin Trains).

Lime Street underground

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. The station is now closed for refurbishment work.[5]

The Merseyrail Wirral line trains operate on a 5 minute frequency Monday-Saturday, and between 5 and 10 minute frequency on Sunday.

Off-peak service is as follows:
4 trains per hour to Chester
2 trains per hour to Ellesmere Port
4 trains per hour to West Kirby
4 trains per hour to New Brighton

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 in the low level of the station was opened in late 2011.


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 and Cardiff without changing trains. Services out of Lime Street (as of June 2011) 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 at Nottingham.

First TransPennine Express
TransPennine Express operate an hourly service to Scarborough via Warrington Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds and York. There are also daily services to Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Hull. Evening services will run to York only.

London Midland
London Midland operate a half hourly service to Birmingham New Street via Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford and Wolverhampton. Late services terminate at Crewe.

Northern Rail
Northern Rail are the main train operating company out of Lime Street, and run the ticket office. Services include:

Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains operate an hourly Pendolino service to London Euston via Runcorn and Stafford (some peak services also call at Crewe, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Milton Keynes Central and Watford Junction).

The underground station is situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, which has services to New Brighton, West Kirby, Ellesmere Port and Chester. To reach destinations on the Northern Line of the network, passengers must either use the Wirral Line and change at Liverpool Central station or walk the short distance to the station.

Preceding station National Rail Following station
South Parkway
style="background:#Template:EMT colour; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   East Midlands Trains
Liverpool - Norwich
style="background:#Template:EMT colour;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Terminus
South Parkway
style="background:#Template:FTPX colour; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   First TransPennine Express
North TransPennine
style="background:#Template:FTPX colour;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Terminus
Liverpool South Parkway style="background:#Template:LM colour; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   London Midland
West Coast Main Line
style="background:#Template:LM colour;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Terminus
Terminus   Northern Rail
Liverpool - Wigan
  Edge Hill
Northern Rail
Liverpool to Manchester Line
Technology Park
  Northern Rail
Liverpool-Manchester Airport
South Parkway
  Northern Rail
South Parkway-Lime Street-Blackpool
Runcorn style="background:#Template:VWC colour; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Virgin Trains
WCML Liverpool Branch
style="background:#Template:VWC colour;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Terminus
Moorfields   Merseyrail
Wirral Line
City Loop
  Liverpool Central

Template:Rail end

Proposed services

Renaissance Trains have proposed a twice-daily service from Lime Street to Glasgow Central, with weekend trains running instead from Blackpool to Glasgow. As of 2009, the company is attempting to negotiate train paths with Network Rail.[6]

Proposals to upgrade the Halton Curve have been considered by, among others, Merseytravel and the North Cheshire Rail User's Group.[7] This would provide a second rail route between Liverpool and Wrexham, this one running via Chester (Providing express Liverpool to Chester services), and would permit the introduction of new direct services from Liverpool to Llandudno and other parts of North Wales.

Withdrawn services

Certain direct trains to and from Liverpool Lime Street station have been withdrawn since 2000. These include the following services:

In addition, former British Rail services to Scotland, Wrexham and other parts of North Wales, Bradford, Harwich and Leicester no longer operate.


External links

  • Network Rail

Template:Merseyrail info lnk

Template:Merseyrail City Line

Template:Major railway stations in Britain

Template:Liverpool B&S

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