Liverpool Central railway station

Liverpool Central railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Liverpool Central
code = LVC

caption = The Northern Line platforms at Liverpool Central
manager = Merseyrail
locale = Liverpool
borough = Liverpool
pte = Merseytravel
zone = C1
usage0405 = 0.982
usage0506 = 1.294
usage0607 = 7.170
platforms = 3
years = 2 March 1874
11 January 1892
17 April 1972
28 July 1975
9 May 1977
events = Opened (High Level)
Opened (Low Level)
Closed (High Level)
Closed (Low Level)
Reopened (Low Level)

Liverpool Central railway station is a railway station in Liverpool, England, and forms the central hub of the Merseyrail network, being on both the Northern Line and the Wirral Line.

Liverpool Central is one of six stations on the Merseyrail network to incorporate automatic ticket barriers. The main concourse is part of a shopping centre.


The original station (which was above ground), opened on 2nd March 1874, at the end of the Cheshire Lines Committee CLC line to Manchester Central. It replaced Brunswick station as the CLC's terminus, and became the headquarters of the committee. The three-storey building fronted Ranelagh Street in the city centre, with a ft to m|65 high, arched shed behind. There were 6 platforms within the station, offering journeys to Manchester Central (in 45 mins; making the route the quickest and most direct), London St. Pancras, Hull, Harwich, Stockport Tiviot Dale, Southport Lord Street and an alternative route to that of the Midland Railway terminating at London Marylebone. On 11 January 1892 Liverpool Central Low Level station opened, at the end of the Mersey Railway's route, via the Mersey Railway Tunnel from Birkenhead, when their route was extended from James Street. The Mersey Railway platforms were underground, accessed from stairs within the High Level station. They were situated in roughly the same position as the escalators accessing the Merseyrail Northern Line today.

The station was always busy, up until nationalisation, but as with many other stations in the UK, fell victim to the Beeching Axe, as the routes served could be taken from nearby Liverpool Lime Street. In 1966, most services on the CLC route were diverted to Liverpool Lime Street via the Allerton Curve, leaving only a dozen trains per day to and from Gateacre. These final services were withdrawn on 17 April 1972 and the High Level station was demolished a year later, after having served a short time as a car park, although some former station buildings remained while work was in progress on rebuilding the station in the mid seventies. The station's demolition was unfortunate, as the large trainshed could have possibly have been developed into something of similar use, to that of Manchester Central in Manchester, which had been the Cheshire Lines Committee's Manchester Central up until 1969.

In the 1970s, the Merseyrail network in Liverpool city centre was expanded considerably. A new loop line was built for Wirral Line trains, linking James Street with Moorfields, Lime Street, Liverpool Central and returning to James Street. A new deep-level underground platform was built at Liverpool Central as part of this. Meanwhile, the former CLC route was connected to the Mersey Railway platforms, and another new tunnel allowed trains to continue northwards via Moorfields to the lines from Liverpool Exchange, which was closed in 1977. This route then became the Merseyrail Northern Line. The rebuilt station opened in 1977.

In the original 1970s plan, southbound trains would have continued to Warrington and Manchester; however, services terminated at Garston (but were later extended to Hunts Cross). At the same time, works to allow the Merseyrail Northern Line to be connected to the Victoria Tunnel were put in place, but were later abandoned. This would have allowed trains to operate to St Helens.

On 26 October 2005 a Wirral Line train derailed on the approach to Liverpool Central en route from Liverpool Lime Street. [cite news| url=| title=Rush-hour commuter train derailed| date=2005-10-26| publisher=BBC News| accessdate=2007-10-19| ] There were no serious injuries; however, the design of the meant that all Wirral Line services through the Loop were suspended for the remainder of the week, terminating at James Street.

The statistics from the DeltaRail for the interchanges at this station excludes exchanges between trains which is estimated at around 1 million and also excludes pass holders [cite news|| title=Station Usage 06/07| date=2007-05-11| publisher=DeltaRail| ] .


At street level is a newsagent, toilets, cash & vending machines and ticket office. Escalators and lifts lead to the 2 Northern Line platforms and the deep-level Wirral Line platform.


On the Northern Line, off-peak service level is as follows:

* 4 trains per hour (tph) to Southport
* 4 tph to Ormskirk
* 4 tph to Kirkby
* 4 tph to Hunts Cross via Liverpool South Parkway

During late evenings, frequencies are reduced to 2 tph on the Kirkby and Ormskirk branches; the Southport and Hunts Cross service retains 4 tph.

Sunday services reflect the evening service, but the service from Southport to Hunts Cross is also reduced to 2 tph except for summer Sundays when it remains at 4 tph between Liverpool Central and Southport.

On the Wirral Line, off-peak service level is as follows:

* 4 tph to New Brighton
* 4 tph to West Kirby
* 4 tph to Hooton of which:
** 2 tph continue to Chester
** 2 tph continue to Ellesmere Port

During late evenings and on Sundays, frequencies are reduced to 2 tph on all branches.


At present, there are plans to develop the car park behind Central Station (bounded by the rear of the station, Cropper Street, Newington and Bold Street) into Central Village. The 'village' will consist of a high rise tower for residential and business use, retail outlets, bars and restaurants and will also have a canal running the length of Bold Street. Planning has just been granted to develop this area, which has been relatively derelict since the demolition of the High Level Station in the 1970s.

On 27 December, 2007 Bart Schmeink, Merseyrail's managing director pledged a major overhaul of Liverpool’s ageing Loop Line underground stations [cite web|url=|title=Merseyrail chief vows major overhaul of ageing Loop Line|accessdate=2007-12-27] . The plans will see makeovers at Liverpool Central, Moorfields and Lime Street stations, with Merseyrail stating they are 'seeking ways to expand passenger capacity from around 35,000 a day to 50,000.'


External links

* [ Station information] from Merseyrail
* [ History of Central station]
* [ Report] by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch into 26 October 2005 derailment. (PDF format)


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