World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Manchester Central railway station

Manchester Central
Place Manchester
Area City of Manchester
Grid reference
Original company Cheshire Lines Committee
Pre-grouping Cheshire Lines Committee
Post-grouping Cheshire Lines Committee
London Midland Region of British Railways
Platforms 9
1 July 1880 Opened
5 May 1969 Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
UK Railways portal

Manchester Central railway station is a former railway station in Manchester city centre, England. One of Manchester's main railway terminals between 1880 and 1969, it has been converted into an exhibition and conference centre named Manchester Central. The structure is a Grade II* listed building.


  • History 1
  • Construction details 2
  • Railway usage 3
  • Accidents and incidents 4
  • Post-railway era 5
    • Dereliction and redevelopment 5.1
    • Light rail 5.2
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • External links 8
  • References 9


The station was built between 1875 and 1880 by the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC), and was officially opened on 1 July 1880. The architect was Sir John Fowler and the engineers were Richard Johnson, Andrew Johnston and Charles Sacré for the three companies which formed the CLC.[1][2]

While it was being built, a temporary facility, Manchester Free Trade Hall Station (after the Free Trade Hall a landmark building nearby) was in use from 9 September 1877. It had two wooden platforms serving four tracks. When the station opened, the temporary station became Manchester Central Goods.

In 1963 building was Grade II* listed for its special architectural or historic interest.[1]

Construction details

The station's roof is a single span wrought iron truss structure 550 feet (168 m) long with a span of 210 feet (64 m), and was 90 feet (27 m) high at its apex above the railtracks. Glass covered the middle section, timber (inside) and slate (outside) covered the outer quarters. The end screens were glazed with timber boarding surrounding the outer edges. It was constructed by Andrew Handyside and Co.[3] The substructure and masonry partition were provided by Robert Neill and Sons of Manchester. Underneath the train shed is a large brick undercroft with intersecting tunnel vaults, above which were six platforms above street level which exited the station onto viaducts and bridges.[4] The undercroft was used for storage and connected to the adjacent goods sidings by a carriage lift. The station's two-storey south wall has 15 bays separated by brick pilasters. At ground-floor level the bays have three round-headed windows and at first-floor level three square-headed. In the 20th century a glazed canopy was erected at the entrance at north end.[1]

Manchester Central Station on a winter's day in 1961

A temporary wooden building, erected at the front of the station to house ticket offices and waiting rooms was planned to be replaced by a grander edifice, for example a hotel and railway offices as at London St Pancras, but remained in use until the station closed. The Midland Hotel was built by the Midland Railway in 1898-1903 on an adjacent site.

Railway usage

Manchester railways 1910
Midland lines

The Midland Railway (MR), one of the CLC's partners, used Manchester Central as its terminus for services including express trains to London St Pancras. Beginning in 1938, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (successor to the MR) ran two prestige expresses, The Peaks and the Palatine, stopping en route at Chinley, Millers Dale, Matlock, Derby and Leicester.

Between 1960 and 15 April 1966, during the electrification of the West Coast Main Line, Central Station was the terminus for the Midland Pullman, a streamlined blue six-coach diesel multiple unit. This stopped at Cheadle Heath (now closed), before running fast to St Pancras.

Services through Millers Dale finished in July 1968 when the line was closed as a through route. The station provided local services to Chester and Liverpool but closed to passengers on 5 May 1969, when the remaining services were switched to Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations.

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Terminus   Cheshire Lines Committee
Manchester South District Line
Line and station closed
  Cheshire Lines Committee
Manchester to Liverpool Line
  Trafford Park
Line closed, station open
  Cheshire Lines Committee
Mid-Cheshire Line
Line closed, station open

Accidents and incidents

  • On 8 June 1939, a passenger train departed against a danger signal and was in collision with another passenger train. Several people were injured.[5]

Post-railway era

Dereliction and redevelopment

Central Station car park (1980)

Over a decade Central Station fell into a dilapidated state, was damaged by fire, and was used as a car park. The property was acquired by Greater Manchester Council and in 1982, work began on converting it into an exhibition centre, which opened in 1986 as the Greater Manchester Exhibition and Conference Centre or G-Mex. It was subsequently renamed Manchester Central in honour of its railway history. The undercroft was converted into a car park, serving the centre and Bridgewater Hall.

Light rail

A Metrolink tram (1992)

The opening in 1992 of the Metrolink light rail system has seen the conversion of suburban heavy rail lines such as the former Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway to Altrincham, and the disused Cheshire Lines Committee route via Didsbury. With the introduction of Metrolink, rail services from south Manchester run once more to Central Station. However, instead of trains running into the Central Station arch, light rail vehicles now cross the railway viaduct and stop at Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink station (formerly G-Mex). They then run down a ramp which runs parallel to Lower Mosley Street, alongside the south-eastern side of the former train shed, before reaching street level where they operate as trams and head towards St Peter's Square.


See also

External links

  • Ellis, Chris (11 January 2015). "What happened to England's forgotten railway stations?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 


  1. ^ a b c "G-Mex, Windmill Street". National Monuments Record. English Heritage. 2002-05-12. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  2. ^ Lashley, Brian (2009-05-05). "Manchester Central marks milestone". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  3. ^ Manchester Central Station (G-MEX) roof, Engineering Timelines, retrieved 2011-11-25 
  4. ^ Station name: Manchester Central, disused, retrieved 2012-08-23 
  5. ^ Earnshaw, Alan (1989). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 5. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 28.  
  • A Guide to Civil Engineering in Manchester
  • The Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire Transport Review.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.