Liverpool Lime Street railway station

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Liverpool Lime Street railway station
Liverpool Lime Street railway station on Lime Street is a mainline and underground railway station serving the city centre of Liverpool, England. The station lies on a branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston, and on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. The station is by far the largest railway station in Liverpool city centre and one of the 19 stations managed by Network Rail. According to ticket sales, the nearby Liverpool Central station (which is served exclusively by Merseyrail) has a higher passenger usage, although this may be due to sales of tickets to "Liverpool Stations", which can be used at either station.

In the early days of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), the Liverpool terminus was located at Crown Street, in Edge Hill, officially opened in 1830. Construction of a purpose-built station began in October 1833, the land being purchased from Liverpool Corporation for £9000. A tunnel was constructed between Edge Hill and the new station (starting in 1832, prior to station construction), and the station was opened to the public in August of 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 with rope. Within six years, the rapid growth of the railways meant that the original station needed to be extended, and 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. A second roof was added in the 1880s. 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. The station was one of the first to send mail by train. The North Western Hotel designed by Alfred Waterhouse, was built in front of the station - this still stands, having been converted to accommodation for students of Liverpool John Moores University. 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. Lime Street 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. Lime Street was voted the equal worst of the 20 busiest UK railway stations in a 2007 poll but was voted "Station of the Year 2010" at the National Rail Awards thanks in part to a recent reburbishment.

Layout and future expansion
Liverpool Lime Street is divided into two sections: the mainline station, which serves national and local overground services, and the Merseyrail Underground station, located between the mainline station and St George’s Hall. Lime Street is served by the Wirral Line.

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, Sheffield and Norwich. Access to platforms 1-6 is through a ticket inspection barrier, while platforms 7-9 are open, with tickets being inspected on the trains. Toilets, booking offices, shops, a left-luggage office, taxi ranks and coffee bars are amongst the facilities provided. 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 available but not yet tenanted. 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.

Merseyrail station
The underground station consists of a single platform, alongside the Liverpool Loop, a single track tunnel excavated 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 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: 4tph to Chester 2tph to Ellesmere Port 4tph to West Kirby 4tph to New Brighton As part of a programme of improvements by Merseytravel, the underground station has recently been fitted with automatic ticket barriers and machines. A new 'M to Go' shop is planned for the low level of the station.

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 (at February 2010) are as follows: East Midlands Trains East Midlands Trains operate an hourly service to Norwich via Warrington Central, Manchester Piccadilly, 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:
  • Half hourly service to Manchester Oxford Road (via Warrington Central)
  • Hourly service to Blackpool North (via Preston)
  • Half hourly service to Wigan North Western (via St. Helens Central)
  • Hourly service to Stalybridge (via Manchester Victoria)
  • Hourly service to Manchester Airport (via Newton-le-Willows)
  • Hourly service to Warrington Bank Quay (via Earlestown)
  • Also peak services run to Huddersfield and Preston
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). Merseyrail 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 or walk the short distance to Liverpool Central station.

Future 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. Proposals to upgrade the Halton Curve have been considered by, among others, Merseytravel and the North Cheshire Rail User's Group. This would provide a second rail route between Liverpool and Chester, and would permit the introduction of new direct services from Liverpool to North Wales.

Withdrawn services
Certain direct trains to and from Liverpool Lime Street station have been withdrawn since 2000. These include the following services:
  • Wales and West services to Cardiff and Milford Haven via the Welsh Marches.
  • Virgin Trains Crosscountry services to Edinburgh, Poole, Weymouth, London Paddington, Portsmouth and Plymouth.
  • First North Western services to Chester via Warrington Bank Quay.
  • Central Trains services to Cambridge and Stansted Airport.
In addition, former British Rail services to Scotland, North Wales, Bradford, Harwich and Leicester no longer operate.

Preceding station National Rail Following station Terminus East Midlands Trains Liverpool - Norwich Liverpool South Parkway Terminus First TransPennine Express North TransPennine Liverpool South Parkway Terminus London Midland West Coast Main Line Liverpool South Parkway Terminus Northern Rail Liverpool - Wigan Edge Hill Northern Rail Liverpool to Manchester Line Terminus Northern Rail Liverpool- Manchester Airport Wavertree Technology Park Northern Rail Liverpool - Preston/Blackpool Huyton Terminus Virgin Trains West Coast Main Line Runcorn Moorfields Merseyrail Wirral Line City Loop Liverpool Central


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