Lime Street, Liverpool
Managed by
Network Rail
Platforms in use
Annual rail passenger usage
11.48 million
Passenger Transport Executive
(station website)

Lime Street High Level Station

Liverpool Lime Street railway station in Lime Street is a mainline terminus and underground railway station serving the city centre of Liverpool.

  • The large high level station serves mainline services to major areas of the United Kingdom and the urban City Line of the Merseyrail network.

  • The low level underground station is a through station serving the Wirral Line of Merseyrail.

Despite being the largest railway station in Liverpool city centre, the 2008/2009 period showed it was only the second busiest after the underground, Merseyrail Liverpool Central.

Lime Street was voted the equal worst of the 20 busiest UK railway stations in a 2007 poll.


North Western Hotel which fronts a part of Lime Street High Level Station The initial 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway had the Liverpool terminus located at Crown Street, in Edge Hill. It was considered too far from the city centre. Construction of a purpose-built station in the city centre in Lime Street began in 1833 and a 2 track access tunnel of over a mile long from Edge Hill. The station was opened in August of 1836.

Because of the steep incline between Lime Street and Edge Hill, locomotives removed at Edge Hill, with passenger carriages taken down by gravity controlled by brakemen. The return journey was achieved by using a stationary steam winding engine to haul the carriages up with rope. Within six years, the rapid growth of the railways meant that station expansion was needed. Richard Turner and William Fairburn submitted a design for a single curved train shed roof completed in 1849. A second train shed roof was added in the 1880s.

The station was one of the first to send mail by train. The French Chatteaux style North Western Hotel, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, was built in front of the station. Recently this building was converted to accommodation for students of Liverpool John Moores University.

Lime Street was part of the first stage of electrification of the West Coast Main Line in 1959. In 1966, the station saw the launch of the first Inter-City service.

Station Configuration

Inside Lime Street High Level Station Liverpool Lime Street is divided into two sections:

  • The upper level mainline station, which serves national and local overground services, and the Merseyrail Underground station, located between the mainline station and St George’s Hall. The upper mainline terminus station serves many parts of the United Kingdom with a branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston. The terminus also serves the City Line of Merseyrail.
  • The lower underground station is a through station served by the Wirral Line. The underground station has passenger access from the upper mainline terminus.

High Level Upper Mainline Station

The vast iron and glass roofs dating from the 1840s and 1880s still covers the station. Platforms 7 to 9, are longer than platforms 1 to 6 dealing mainly with long-distance services to London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich. Toilets, booking offices, shops, a left-luggage office, taxi ranks and coffee bars are amongst the facilities provided.

Customer lounges for Virgin Trains customers were built between platforms 7 and 8.

The station received a £35 million redevelopment in 2007. The retail parade and office block in front of the station were demolished, improving the station aspect.

During the day, typically

  • 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 Midlands 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 Leeds and the North East (mainly Scarborough)

Platforms are subject to change and diversions to a different platform are common, particularly when services arrive late or early.

Underground Merseyrail Station

Lime Street Underground Station

The underground station consists of a single platform, on the Wirral Line. The station is connected to the Mainline high level station by a pedestrian subway and escalators, crossing beneath Lime Street's road and by a lift from the main high level station concourse.


The main station is currently served by five train operating companies serving a wide variety of destinations. Services out of Lime Street are:

  • East Midlands Trains operate an hourly service to Norwich via Warrington, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham. Late afternoon and evening services terminate at Nottingham.
  • TransPennine Express operate an hourly service to Scarborough via Warrington, Manchester, Leeds and York. There are also daily services to Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Hull. Evening services will run to York only.
  • London Midland operate a half hourly service to Birmingham New Street via Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford and Wolverhampton. Late services terminate at Crewe.
  • Northern Rail are the prime train operating company at Lime Street, who run the ticket office. Northern Rail run on behalf of Merseytravel the Merseyrail City Line trains Services. They include:
    • Half hourly service to Manchester Oxford Road - via Warrington Central
    • Hourly service to Blackpool North - via Preston
    • Half hourly service to Wigan North Western - via Huyton
    • Hourly service to Stalybridge - via Manchester Victoria
    • Hourly service to Manchester Airport - via Newton-le-Willows
    • Hourly service to Warrington Bank Quay - via Earlestown
    • Also peak services run to Huddersfield and Preston
  • Virgin Trains operate an hourly Pendolino service to London Euston via Runcorn and Stafford with some peak services also calling at Crewe, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Milton Keynes Central and Watford Junction.
  • Merseyrail The underground station is situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, providing services to New Brighton, West Kirby, Ellesmere Port and Chester. To reach destinations on the Northern Line of the network, passengers must either use the Wirral Line and change at Central or walk the short distance to Liverpool Central station. The Wirral line trains operate on a 5 minute frequency from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays between 5 and 10 minute frequency on Sunday.

Future services

  • Renaissance Trains have proposed a twice-daily Monday to Friday service from Lime Street to Glasgow Central.
  • Proposals to upgrade the Halton Curve have been considered by, 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 Wales.

Future enhancements

In 2009 it was announced that the Liverpool to Manchester and Liverpool to Wigan lines are to be electrified. The target date for completion is 2013.


Merseyrail Liverpool's Historic Rail Tunnels