Liverpool James Street railway station

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Liverpool James Street National Rail
Liverpool James Street railway station.jpg
James Street station entrance
Place Liverpool
Local authority Liverpool
Coordinates 53°24′17″N 2°59′31″W / 53.4048°N 2.9919°W / 53.4048; -2.9919Coordinates: 53°24′17″N 2°59′31″W / 53.4048°N 2.9919°W / 53.4048; -2.9919
Grid reference SJ341902
Station code LVJ
Managed by Merseyrail
Number of platforms 3 (Only 2 platforms see regular use)
DfT category E
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14 Increase 3.078 million
2014/15 Increase 3.215 million
2015/16 Increase 3.292 million
2016/17 Increase 3.375 million
2017/18 Increase 3.466 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Merseytravel
Zone C1
Original company Mersey Railway
Pre-grouping Mersey Railway
Post-grouping Mersey Railway
London Midland Region of British Railways
1 February 1886 Opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Liverpool James Street from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Liverpool James Street railway station (commonly shortened to James Street station[1]) is a railway station located in the centre of Liverpool, England, situated on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. James Street is an underground station with access to the platforms via lifts from the James Street booking hall. At certain times the booking hall is accessed via a pedestrian tunnel from the India Buildings on Water Street. As of 2013/14, James Street was the fifth-busiest station on the Merseyrail network.


Water Street entrance sign for James Street station from just after electrification of the Mersey Railway.
Platform and tunnel layout in and around James Street station, including the original tunnel to Central station, which still exists

The station opened as the original Liverpool terminus of the Mersey Railway Tunnel in 1886. James Street Station and Hamilton Square underground station in Birkenhead are the oldest deep-level underground stations in the world. The only other underground railway in 1886, London Underground, had stations just below the street surface, built using the cut-and-cover method. The stations are so deep they required lifts to access, and were the world's first lift-accessed stations. The lifts were initially hydraulically operated. There were originally two platforms, either side of a twin-track tunnel.

The Mersey railway tunnel was extended under dry land to Liverpool Central station in 1892, changing James Street's status to a through station. By this time, there were trains from Liverpool branching from Hamilton Square station terminating at Birkenhead Park and Rock Ferry stations in Birkenhead. The line was electrified in 1903.[2] Through trains to West Kirby and New Brighton commenced in 1938, when the former Wirral Railway routes were electrified.

In 1941, during the Liverpool Blitz, the Luftwaffe bombed the surface building of the station, damaging the then famous James Street hydraulic accumulator tower so badly it required demolition.[3] A new surface building was built in the 1960s.

The station was rebuilt in the 1970s, opening in 1977, as a creation of the Merseyrail network. A new single-track tunnel known as the Loop was constructed being a part of the Wirral Line under Liverpool's city centre. The Loop ran west from the Mersey Railway tunnel via a newly constructed third platform at James Street, then onto Moorfields, Liverpool Lime Street and Liverpool Central, and back to James Street rejoining the Mersey railway tunnel just to the east of the station.

The eastern section of the original tunnel between Liverpool Central and James Street is used by the new Northern Line. The remaining western section of the tunnel, which is not used by either the Wirral Line or Northern Line, was retained to provide a connection between the two for moving empty electric trains between depots at Birkenhead North and Kirkdale. Of the original two platforms at James Street, only the westbound remains in regular use. Platform 2, the original eastbound platform, is kept in near-original condition, being used only when trains are prevented from using the loop itself.[4]

Until the mid-1990s, James Street closed at 7 pm; now the station remains open throughout the evening.

Recent history

On 26 February 2007, a £2 million package of improvements to the station received planning permission from Liverpool City Council.[5] Work on the street outside the station was carried out in 2007 and 2008, and internal work began on 13 February 2008. The station was fully reopened in May 2008.[6] Further refurbishment of platforms, concourses and the booking hall were undertakeen in 2012-13, as part of a £40 million investment from Network Rail which saw all Merseyrail underground stations (excluding Conway Park) refurbished. Platform 1 was closed on 3 September 2012 reopening on 7 January 2013; the closure of Platform 3 followed on thereafter, reopening on 22 April 2013.[7][8]

In early June 2014, it was announced that this station would be one of a small number of stations on the Merseyrail network that would be refurbished in a £3.7m programme of improvements. The work included the refurbishment of the Water Street entrance as well as improvements to Platform 2. The Water Street entrance closed on 16 February 2015 and reopened on 13 April 2015, although refurbishment was not complete until May 2015.[9] Improvements on the occasionally used Platform 2 also took place to improve the visual impact for customers waiting to board Wirral-bound trains. The work was completed on 12 November 2015.[10]

On 22 October 2015, free Wi-Fi was installed and introduced at the station.[11]

In March 2016, Merseytravel announced that major track renewal work would be taking place on the Wirral Line in the first half of 2017, completely replacing track around the Loop and through the Mersey railway tunnel to Hamilton Square. The stations was closed completely at the start and end of the work; in the interim, there were no weekend services at the station, and weekday services for all Wirral Line destinations terminated at James Street. Replacement buses operated through Liverpool city centre and across to Birkenhead whilst the work took place.[12] The project was completed on schedule, with services resuming on 19 June 2017.[13]

Station layout

The frieze at the rarely used Platform 2 of James Street station, before refurbishment.
Platform 1 at James Street station, after refurbishment

James Street station has three platforms, although only two see regular use. Platforms 2 and 3 are situated on either side of the original Mersey Railway tunnel, and platform 1 in the newer tunnel on the loop line. Only platforms 1 and 3 are in regular use for the loop line, Platform 3 by trains westbound to the Wirral and Platform 1 by trains eastbound towards Liverpool. Platform 2, which is situated on the empty stock line opposite platform 3, has not normally been used by passenger services since the opening of the loop line. This platform has a frieze artwork, on the wall.

The junction at the western end of the station (where the loop leaves the original line in order to pass through platform 1) is known as Mann Island Junction.[14]

Occasionally, the loop line may close to allow for maintenance to occur.[15][16][17] On these occasions, platform 2 is brought back into use to allow trains arriving from the Wirral to terminate and reverse there back onto the westbound line (either directly or via platform 3).

There are two entrances to the station. The main entrance on James Street itself has four lifts to reach the platforms from street level. It also has a small newsagents inside. The Water Street entrance uses a combination of staircases and a ramp over 150 yards long which goes from ground level to just above the platforms. The Water Street entrance is only in use during certain times of the day and is closed at weekends. It is open between 7am and 10am, then again from 3pm to 6pm.[18]


The station is staffed, during all opening hours, and has platform CCTV.[1] There are toilets, a payphone, an ATM, booking office and live departure and arrival screens, for passenger information. The station doesn't have a car park. Though, there is a cycle rack for eight bicycles. Step-free access to the platforms, for wheelchairs and prams, is possible, via the lifts.[19]


Trains operate every five minutes (Monday-Saturday daytime) around the Liverpool city centre loop to Moorfields, Liverpool Lime Street and Liverpool Central. In the other direction, trains operate every five minutes to Hamilton Square, from where they continue every 15 minutes to each of New Brighton and West Kirby with six trains an hour to Hooton. From Hooton, trains continue every 15 minutes to Chester and every 30 minutes to Ellesmere Port. At other times, trains operate every 30 minutes to each of the four destinations, giving a service every 5–10 minutes to Hamilton Square.[20] These services are all provided by Merseyrail's fleet of Class 507 and Class 508 EMUs.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Station Facilities for Liverpool James Street". National Rail. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  2. ^ Gahan 1983, p. 32
  3. ^ Gahan 1983, p. 56
  4. ^ Maund 2001, p. 10, 43, 44
  5. ^ "Green light for James Street works". Merseytravel website. Merseytravel. 26 February 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  6. ^ "James Street improvements". Merseytravel website. Merseytravel. 21 May 2008. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  7. ^ "James Street Refurbishment". Merseyrail website. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013.
  8. ^ James Street Refurbishment
  9. ^ Water Street Entrance Closure Archived 8 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ James Street Platform 2 Refurbishment Complete
  11. ^ Merseyrail Introduces WiFi at Five Underground Stations
  12. ^ "Network Rail Track Renewal on the Wirral Loop"; Retrieved 20 May 2016
  13. ^ "Wirral loop line fully opens on Monday 19 June"; Retrieved 16 April 2018
  14. ^ 4 Midlands & North West (Map) (2nd ed.). Railway Track Diagrams. Cartography by John Yonge. Trackmaps. March 2005. p. 40 Hunts Cross - Moorfields. ISBN 0-9549866-0-1.
  15. ^ "Liverpool Loop Closure" (PDF). Merseyrail travel information booklet. Merseyrail. April 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  16. ^ "Liverpool Loop Closure" (PDF). Merseytravel website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  17. ^ Manning, Craig (11 July 2013). "Wirral rail users face months of disruption as Liverpool Loop work begins". Wirral Globe. Newsquest (North West) Ltd. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  18. ^ Water Street Entrance Opening Times
  19. ^ "Liverpool James Street Station Plan". National Rail. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Wirral Line Train Times - 8 December 2013 to 17 May 2014" (PDF). Merseyrail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.


  • Gahan, John W. (1983). The Line Beneath The Liners. Birkenhead: Countryvise. ISBN 978-0-907-76840-1.
  • Maund, T.B. (2001). Merseyrail Electrics: The Inside Story. Sheffield: NBC Books. OCLC 655126526.

External links

  • Train times and station information for Liverpool James Street railway station from National Rail
  • Station information for Liverpool James Street railway station from Merseyrail
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Hamilton Square
towards New Brighton, West Kirby,
Chester or Ellesmere Port
Wirral Line
towards Liverpool Central
    Liverpool Central
(one-way operation)
"boat icon" Ferry services
Terminus   Mersey Ferries
Commuter ferry
Terminus   Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
High Speed Catamaran
  Isle Of Man
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