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Liverpool Lime Street railway station on Lime Streetmarker is a mainline and underground railway station serving the city centre of Liverpoolmarker, Englandmarker. The station lies on a branch of the West Coast Main Linemarker from London Eustonmarker, and on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network.


In the early days of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), the Liverpool terminus was located at Crown Streetmarker, in Edge Hillmarker, 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 stationmarker in Londonmarker, 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 Universitymarker. 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 Linemarker 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.

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 Hallmarker. Lime Street is served by the Wirral Line.


A sign at the end of platform six, with a First Transpennine express service behind it.
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 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 will receive a £35 million redevelopment. The Lime Street Gateway Project will see the current retail parade and office block in front of the station demolished, and an improved frontage and public plaza built. The development will be 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 Northern Rail/East Midland Trains services to the East Midlands, and for the local stopper train 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 the Leeds and the North East (mainly Scarborough)

It should be noted that platforms are subject to change and diversions to a different platform are common, particularly when services arrive late or early.

Merseyrail Underground 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 Main Line 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.

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. Although this 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.

  • East Midlands Trains operates express services to Norwich via Sheffield and Nottingham.
  • First TransPennine Express operates express services to Scarborough via Leeds and York (with daily services to Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Hull all via Leeds).
  • London Midland operates a half hourly service to Birmingham New Street via Crewe and Wolverhampton.
  • Northern Rail operates local services to Blackpool North via Preston, Manchester via Earlestown, Manchester via Warrington Central, Preston, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western.
  • Virgin Trains operates an hourly express service to London Euston with stops at Runcorn and Stafford.

The underground station is situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, which has services to New Brightonmarker, West Kirbymarker, Ellesmere Portmarker and Chestermarker. 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 stationmarker.

Future services

Renaissance Trains have proposed a twice-daily service from Lime Street to Glasgow Centralmarker, with weekend trains running instead from Blackpoolmarker 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 Walesmarker.


  1. BBC NEWS | Revamped station tops train poll

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