The magnificence of Lime Street Station past, present and future

Liverpool Lime St Station, August 2005 with office block, now demolished

Liverpool Lime St Station, August 2005 with office block, now demolished


 
Lime St Station is probably the best known and most used building in Liverpool. People from the suburbs and beyond take the train to Lime Street and so do those travelling from further away, such as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and London.

There are two parts to Lime Street Station, the main line terminal at ground level and the underground station on the city centre loop line.

It’s not widely acknowledged that Liverpool Lime Street is one of the oldest stations in continous use anywhere in the world. When the Liverpool and Manchester railway opened in 1830, the terminus was at Crown Street to the east of the city centre. The site is now a green area. Lime Street Station opened for passengers in 1836. The present train sheds date from 1867 and 1879.

The view from the main entrance at the front of Lime Street is one of the most magnificent in any UK city, with St Georges Hall on the right.

This is the place where I meet the people who come on my photo walks, at the top of the steps outside the main entrance.

Liverpool Lime Street front entrance and new steps

Liverpool Lime Street front entrance and new steps, meeting point for my photo walks.


 
Inside the station near the front entrance there are two statues by Tom Murphy representing Liverpool personalities, the comedian Ken Dodd and the former councillor Bessie Braddock. They were unveiled in 2009.

The north train shed is fronted by an ornate former hotel. This was the North Western Hotel, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, architect of Manchester town hall. Now this building serves as as a residence for students at John Moores University.
 
Next to the former hotel is the impressive main facade of the station. For many years, this frontage was spoilt by a row of shops that stood in front of it. In the 1960s an office block – Concourse House – was built on the corner. It was typical of the 1960s that a modern office tower could be constructed within a few feet of a precious heritage building from the 19th century. It also cast a shadow on the front of the station for much of the day.

Liverpool Lime Street Station at night

Liverpool Lime Street Station at night with floodlighting.


 

In the 2000s, the building was demolished, along with the row of shops and a new area at the front was created with steps and ramps. It is magnificent and allows us to admire the magnificence of the architecture. It looks particularly good at night, when floodlighting is switched on.

Whilst the exterior has been beautifully renovated, the interior has remained less attractive, but in 2016 a new renovation is set to go ahead. The station will be closed for a period during the works.

I look forward to seeing the newly renovated Lime Street Station and to continuing to arrive and depart from one of the oldest and most magnificent railway termini in the world.

Virgin Train to London at Liverpool Lime St 30 Oct 2003

Virgin Train to London at Liverpool Lime St Station Platform 8, 30 Oct 2003


 

Virgin Train to London at Liverpool Lime St 27 Apr 2009

Virgin Train to London at Liverpool Lime St Station, Platform 8, 27 Apr 2009

Manchester’s Oxford Road – chaotic but fascinating

Eyewitness 2015 photos and editorial published in the Manchester Evening News

Oxford Manchester 3 July 2015

Oxford Road begins at the River Medlock under the rail bridge and extends to Moss Lane East by the Curry Mile.

Oxford Road and the area on either side has a remarkable assortment of facilities: Four third level educational institutions, five hospitals, a strangely shaped theatre, two Catholic churches, one of which looks like a French cathedral, two parks, one of which is the site of an Anglican church after which surrounding area is named, several music venues, two former cinemas, a neo-Gothic Victorian building containing a natural history museum and opposite it, a thing that looks like a fuel storage tank.

There are two bridges over Oxford Rd and a 50m swimming pool. It’s said to be Europe’s busiest bus corridor and possibly its smokiest, as there are still many older diesel buses in operation. The BBC was here but now the site is a car park.

Oxford Road is chaotic but fascinating, a piece of pure Manchester and I love it just as it is. But soon general traffic will be diverted away to make more room for bikes and buses. Will it retain its character? We’ll see. In mid-2015 my Victoria Baths videos are still showing on the Corridor Manchester Digital Screen opposite Grosvenor Street.

From Manchester to Liverpool by bus train car or ferry

Manchester and Liverpool

I often travel between Manchester and Liverpool to run my photo walks, visit friends or just explore the city. So what’s the cheapest way to do the journey? And what’s the quickest way? There are lots of options: road, rail, canal, footpath. And is it possible to fly? Read on to find out more.

Liverpool and Manchester are the two biggest cities in North West England. They are approximately 35 miles apart apart and I have made the journey between them countless times. People often ask me for information so I decided to write this article.

National Express coach, cheapest transport method between Liverpool and Manchester
National Express coaches offer the cheapest fare for bus travel between Manchester and Liverpool. The service runs approximately every hour during the day, less frequently in the evening. To book, go to the National Express website at least a couple of days in advance and look for the cheapest fare. You can also buy your ticket at Manchester Central Coach station or Liverpool Norton Street Coach Station (with some restrictions).

The day return economy fare is around £7.40 (early 2015). It may be possible to obtain even cheaper fares – Funfares – by booking well in advance. Always visit the website to find the most up to date information and the lowest fares.

National Express coaches use National Express coach stations, Manchester Central Coach Station is located on Chorlton St, close to Piccadilly Gardens and Piccadilly station (postcode: M1 3JF). Liverpool Norton St Coach Station is located about 10 minutes walk from Lime St Station (postcode:L1 1JD) Unless there are delays, the coach journey between Liverpool and Manchester takes just under one hour.

There is a Megabus connection between Manchester and Liverpool but there are only three services a day, one early morning, one in the middle of the day and one late in the evening. The fares are not competitive with National Express.

If you’re going from Manchester city centre to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, or vice versa, then you can take the coach shuttle bus service operated by Terravision. It runs hourly from very early morning until after midnight. It departs from Manchester’s Shudehill Transport Interchange and arrives outside the terminal building next to the Yellow Submarine artwork some 50 minutes later. The journey in the other direction is about the same.

Liverpool Lime Street Station

Manchester to Liverpool by rail: second cheapest and also quickest
Taking the train between Manchester and Liverpool costs slightly more than the bus. In early 2015 the off peak day return between both cities in either direction is £12. You have a choice between Piccadilly and Oxford Road on the southern edge of the city centre or Manchester Victoria Station on the northern side. Journey times range from just over three quarters of an hour to over one and three quarter hours. For full details and to book tickets go to www.thetrainline.com or any of the train operator websites such as www.northernrail.org.

Historical note: Manchester and Liverpool are pioneer cities in rail travel. The first passenger railway service began in 1830. The original station building still exists. It’s part of Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. Travelling at 14 mph, I calculate that the journey must have taken around three hours. In the mid-20th century steam era, the journey between Manchester and Liverpool was faster and more frequent than today.

Services between Liverpool Lime St and Manchester Victoria run mostly along the original 1830 route. In early 2015 the last train from Liverpool to Manchester leaves Lime St at 23.38. The last train from Manchester leaves Oxford Road at 23.20. Please don’t rely on these times. Always check for up to date schedules at the station, by phone or online. There could be timetable changes or rail replacement buses.

Drive along the M62 between Manchester and Liverpool – or maybe the M56
The most convenient, and maybe the fastest method if you break the speed limit – not a good idea! – is to drive by car between Manchester and Liverpool, probably along the M62, but if you’re going to and/or from the southern parts of both cities, you could also take the M56, or a combination of M62 and M56. If you’re going from the north of Greater Manchester towards the north of Merseyside and Liverpool, it might be worth taking the A580 East Lancs Road.

Historical note: The A580 East Lancs Road was the UK’s first purpose-built road constructed to link two cities. It was completed in 1934 and has since been widened and adapted. The section of the M62 transpennine motorway that runs between Manchester and Liverpool was completed in the 1970s.

The distance from the eastern end of the M602 motorway at Cross Lane, Salford to the western end of the M62 at Queens Drive, Broadgreen, Liverpool is 27.8 miles (44 kilometres). I can cover this distance at quiet times in less than 30 minutes (without breaking the speed limit!). If you add on the journey along busy urban roads at either end, the total journey time will be about one hour, at rush hour times considerably more. For the return journey I generally use around two gallons of petrol (c9 litres) costing around £10. (early 2015 prices).

By boat, bike, horse and on foot
It is possible to travel by ship from Manchester to Liverpool. You can do this on the Manchester Ship Canal Cruise, operated by Mersey Ferries during the summer months using one of their celebrated river ferries. The journey takes around 6 hours. As you watch a changing industrial landscape go by, you will hear a fascinating commentary from a tour guide over the loudspeakers. There are refreshments on board and plenty of nice places to sit or stand, both inside the ferry and on deck. The Manchester Ship Canal Cruise is a wonderful experience, I highly recommend it.

Mersey Ferry on the Manchester Ship Canal Cruise at Irlam

You can cycle, horse ride or walk from Manchester to Liverpool or vice versa along the Transpennine Trail, a continuous footpath that runs across northern England from coast to coast. There are no scheduled flights between Manchester and Liverpool, though it might be possible to fly a microlight or ride in a balloon between the two cities. I must try that some time!

Happy travelling between our two great North Western cities of Liverpool and Manchester!

Have you got question? Just post it in a comment or tweet to @AidanEyewitness and I will reply!