Liverpool Lime Street Railway Station is the main terminus of the city of Liverpool. It also has an underground station. Its mainline services link Liverpool to other northern cities such as Manchester, Chester, Leeds, York, and Newcastle. The city’s northwest suburbs and nearby cities are also well-served, with frequent connections to places such as Warrington, Stockport, Wigan, and Blackpool.
Long-distance operators connect the city to Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland; Birmingham and Nottingham in the Midlands; and of course London. A limited peak-hour service links Wrexham in Wales. In a typical year, almost 20 million passengers pass through the station.
A brief history of Liverpool Lime Street Station
The station’s humble origins predate its opening, as there was an existing station that served the city’s fledgeling railway. This was the Liverpool & Manchester Railway’s Crown Street station in Edge Hill, which opened in 1830. However, the expansion of the railway at that time was rapid and needs changed fast. It was soon clear that a more central station was required. As a result, plans were quickly drawn up for what would become Liverpool Lime Street Railway Station.
In 1836, a wooden train shed was erected on the site, but it didn’t last long. Passenger numbers were still growing rapidly and even this improved station wasn’t large enough to cope with demand. Just 13 years later, another new station building was constructed. It opened onto Lord Nelson Street and boasted an iron roof inspired by the one that covered London’s original Euston station.
Over the years, the station has been altered and extended many times. Granite columns that were soon nicknamed the ‘candlesticks’ appeared at the entrance in 1857. A decade later, a vast train shed was built – the largest of its kind in the world at the time. In 1879, a second train shed was completed.
What are the features of Liverpool Lime Street Station?
In 2007, the station underwent a £35 million redevelopment known as the Lime Street Gateway Project. A public plaza and other enhancements replaced the retail parade and office block in front of the station. In 2018, a further £340 million was committed to improving the functionality of the station.
The station contains several retail and food outlets to serve waiting passengers. These include branches of Boots, WHSmiths, Costa Coffee, Burger King and an M&S food hall. The St John’s Shopping Centre is located just across the street; in fact, much of the city’s central business district lies within walking distance. The station also provides a waiting room for Avanti West Coast First Class ticket holders, photo booths, left luggage facilities, ATMs and public toilets.
On the main concourse, you’ll see the work of acclaimed local sculptor Tom Murphy. Called Chance Meeting, it features 2 sorely missed locals: entertainer Ken Dodd and politician Bessie Braddock. In real life, this wouldn’t have been an unplanned encounter. The unlikely duo regularly travelled to London together and formed a close friendship. The artist is also responsible for bronzes of John Lennon, Bill Shankly, and Sir John Moore elsewhere in the city.
It’s not the only Tom Murphy work at the station. Liverpool Pals is a bronze frieze unveiled in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. It depicts the newly formed Pals Battalions. Over 6,000 Liverpudlian volunteers signed up to fight on the battlefield together. They left by train from this station; many of them never came home.
Lime Street predates the station. It was laid out in 1790. It takes its name from the limekilns that stood on the site. A local businessman called William Harvey owned them. The stench from the industrial site upset the doctors who practised at the nearby hospital and the kilns were ultimately moved to new premises.
Liverpool Lime Street Railway Station is within just 5 minutes’ drive east of the Liverpool city centre. Other attractions around the station include the Walker Art Gallery, the Central Library, the World Museum, the Liverpool Empire Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre.
Location: Liverpool, UK
Open: Monday–Friday from 3.15 am to 0.40 am, Saturday from 3.15 am to 0.35 am, Sunday from 7 am to 0.30 am