[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened:

2.5.1977 (Northern Line platforms)
9.5.1977 (Wirral Line platform)

Location: On the south side of Renalagh Street
Company on opening: British Rail (London Midland Region)
Date closed to passengers: Still open
Date closed completely: Still open
Company on closing: Still open
Present state: Still open
County: Lancashire
OS Grid Ref: SJ350902
Date of visit: 23.5.2011

Notes: Liverpool Central Merseyrail station is at the heart of the city’s underground railway network, on the loop line used by trains from the Wirral, and by a link line connecting the former CLC (Cheshire Lines Committee) line to Hunts Cross with the former L&YR lines to Southport, Ormskirk and Kirkby. The station occupies land that once formed part of the former CLC Liverpool Central Station and the former Mersey Railway Liverpool Central Low Level.

The idea for creating underground linking lines through the city can be traced back to the early 20th Century, but the genesis of the loop and link lines in the form that they eventually took was in studies carried out in the 1960s, principally the MALTS (Merseyside Area Land Use Transportation Study) of 1966. Further momentum was gained in 1969 when the MPTE
(Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive) was formed with the remit of overseeing bus, rail and ferry services. In 1971 it obtained an Act to build the loop and link lines and branded the network Merseyrail.

Three distinct groups of lines were created:

  • Northern Line - the former L&YR electric routes from Liverpool Exchange;
  • Wirral Line - the former Mersey Railway under-river line and the network of electrified lines on the Wirral;
  • City Line - the largely diesel-operated routes from the main line station at Liverpool Lime Street.

The electric trains of the Wirral and Northern lines had Merseyrail branding applied along with the MPTE logo.

Work began on the demolition of the former CLC  Liverpool Central Station in 1971, and it officially closed on 17 April 1972. An access shaft was sunk at the Liverpool Central site in March 1972, Work began on the loop and link lines on 28 July 1975, and all trains on the Wirral Line terminated at James Street. A Rail-link bus service was introduced between
Liverpool Central and James Street.

After closure the tunnel was opened out, the station’s platform seeing daylight for perhaps the first time ever. The tunnel south of Low Level was extended to come out into the former approach tunnels of the CLC line. A section of the original Mersey Railway tunnel between Central and James Street was used in the link line. Under Paradise Street a junction was created with two single-bore tunnels to carry the link through to the former L&YR lines.

At Liverpool Central a new station was created. A booking hall, set back from the road, was built, with ticket offices at its centre and a newsagent’s stall on its east side. Escalators led from the booking hall on the east side to the Wirral Line platform and on the west side to the Northern Line platforms, which used the site
of the former Low Level station. The Wirral Line platform was on the new deep-level loop alignment. A lift was also provided.

The new Central station opened to passengers on 2 May 1977. The first trains were Northern Line services that terminated at the station which operated to Southport, Ormskirk and to Kirkby. A week later, on 9 May, Wirral line trains began, serving New Brighton, Rock Ferry and West Kirby. The station was an immediate success: the loop and link lines created a surge in passenger numbers.

On 3 January 1978 part of the CLC route out as far as Garston reopened as an electrified line. It became part of the Northern Line, despite being in the south of the city. Kirkby services were extended to terminate at Garston. (Southport and Ormskirk trains continued to terminate at Central.)

On 25 October 1978 H M Queen Elizabeth II visited Liverpool Central. She formally opened the first phase of the Merseyrail development and rode out to Kirkby

on a new class 507 EMU built for Merseyrail. These trains were introduced onto the Northern Line in the following months, replacing 1938 LMS stock.

At first passengers entered Liverpool Central between wooden hoardings through a passage from Ranalegh Street. In the 1980s a shopping precinct was developed between Ranelagh Street and the booking hall through which passengers entered the station, providing a much more welcoming entrance.
During the 1980s and 1990s further journey opportunities opened up for passengers from Liverpool Central with the extensions to the electrified network. From 16 May 1983 trains ran beyond Garston to Hunts Cross. The service pattern was altered in 1984 with Southport – Hunts Cross trains passing through Central running to and from Hunts Cross, whilst
Kirkby trains terminated at Central. At the same time a 15-minute frequency was introduced for all services. On the other side of the River Mersey electrification was extended to Hooton and trains began running there on 30tSeptember 1985. Live rails were laid to Chester - electric services being introduced on 4 October 1993 - and to Ellesmere Port , which Merseyrail electric trains served from 29 May 1994.

In 1986 central government policy changed the role of the MPTE which became more a strategic body rather than a direct operator. From this date the organisation branded itself Merseytravel, however the rail services at Liverpool Central continued to be branded Merseyrail.

In 1995 British Rail was privatised. Liverpool Central passed to Railtrack and within a few years to Network Rail. Train services passed to MTL Holdings as the Merseyrail Electrics franchise on 19 January 1997 and subsequently to Arriva in 2000, and Serco-Ned Railways in 2002. In 2003 the responsibility for rail franchises on the Merseyrail network was transferred from central government to Merseytravel (through its
governing body Merseyside Integrated Transport Executive) making the Merseyrail system unique in the United Kingdom. In the same year the Serco-NedRailways franchise was awarded for 25 years.

In November 2009 a new travel centre opened at Liverpool Central replacing the original booking offices. This was a new Merseytravel concept offering a range of consumer products as well as railway tickets. In the same the year over eighteen million passengers used Liverpool Central making it the busiest station on the Merseyrail Network and one of the busiest outside London.

Tickets from Michael Stewart. Click here for more tickets from Liverpool Central Low Level Click here for a selection of Northern Line timetables.


See Also
Liverpool Central High Level & Liverpool Central Low Level

The main entrance to the shopping precinct and to Liverpool Central station in May 2011.
Photo by Paul Wright

The booking hall at Liverpool Central 'Merseyrail' station as seen in May 2011. The station had opened on 3 May 1977. By 2011 it was the busiest station on the Merseyrail network and one of the busiest outside of London.
Photo by Paul Wright

Looking south at the site of the Liverpool Central Low Level station as seen in May 2011 thirty four years after it had become part of the Merseyrail 'Northern Line'.
Photo by Paul Wright

Looking south at the site of Liverpool Central Low Level station in May 2011. Before 1975 when the former Mersey Railway terminus closed buffer stops had been located beyond the platform at the far end in a dead end tunnel. When the station was rebuilt as part of the Merseyrail 'Northern Line' it became a through station. In 2011 trains ran through the station between Southport and Hunts Cross whilst services running between Liverpool and Kirkby and to Ormskirk terminated.
Photo by Paul Wright

Looking north at the site of the Mersey Railway station at Liverpool Central. The station sat beneath the CLC main line stations platforms 1 and 2. After closure in 1975 the site of the station was used as part of the Merseyrail link line. It was developed as platform 1 and 2 of the new station and served the Merseyrail 'Northern Line'. The Mersey Railway station had been a terminus. Behind the photographer there had been a short tunnel with a dead end. It was used originally to allow steam locomotives to run around their trains. In the 1970s it was extended and connected into the CLC tunnel at Great George Street. The Merseyrail station which opened on 3 May 1977 was built as a through station. In this view from May 2011, two 'Merseyrail Electrics' EMUs can be seen. to the left a Kirkby service can be seen departing and to the right an Ormskirk train waits to depart.
Photo by Paul Wright

The northern line platforms at Liverpool Central were provided with a direct link to the Wirral Line deep level platform when the Merseyrail station was constructed in the 1970s.
hoto by Paul Wright

The deep level platform at Liverpool Central which is part of the Merseyrail loop line looking north east in May 2011. The deep level platform was opened to serve Wirral Line trains on 9 May 1977. By 2011 passengers could travel from the platform to Chester, Ellesmere Port, New Brighton and West Kirby
hoto by Paul Wright

May 2011

May 2011

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Paul Wright]

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