REALLY Sidetracked - Liverpool Exchange
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Liverpool Exchange Station
Liverpool Exchange station closed in April 1977 and the station frontage which was at one time a hotel has been converted into the Mercury Court office complex. The train shed was demolished shortly after closure and the site is now a car park. Elements of the former station can still be seen throughout the car park site.
In the 1840s two lines were constructed into Liverpool from the north. The first line was from Bury via Bolton and Wigan and this line would ultimately have connections to Manchester providing an alternative route to that offered by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway of 1830. The Bury line was ultimately constructed by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The second line came in from Preston and was constructed by the East Lancashire Railway. Both lines met at Walton and then shared a route into Liverpool. On 20th November 1848 they opened a joint terminus at Great Howard Street. The two companies made uneasy bedfellows and could not even agree on a joint name for the station. The LYR favoured Borough Goal after the nearby prison whilst the ELR favoured Great Howard Street.
This station soon proved inadequate for the heavy traffic that developed and an extension was soon underway to a point right on the edge of the city business district at Tithebarn Street.
This new station opened on 13th May 1850 and was known by two names. To the LYR it was Exchange Station and to the ELR it was Tithebarn Street.
On the 13th August 1859 the companies amalgamated as the LYR. A third line was opened from the north linking Liverpool with Southport.
Although a minor line, it grew very quickly as a commuter route with housing development spreading all along its route. By the 1880s traffic had built up to such a degree that further expansion was needed. An act of 24th July 1882 authorised a widening of the approach lines whilst an Act of 2nd August 1883 allowed for a complete rebuild of Exchange Station. This new station opened in part on 12th December 1886 and completely on 2nd July 1888. In its final form the station consisted of a grand hotel frontage, ten platform faces and four longitudinal gabled roofs.
On 22nd March 1904 the Southport Line was electrified and proved a great success generating even more business. On 3rd December 1906 electrification was extended along the Preston line as far as Aintree. Over the next few years it would be extended two more times until it reached Ormskirk on 1st April 1913.
Exchange Station developed an extensive commuter service of electric trains as well as a number of express workings to Scotland and to the east. Other services went to Blackpool, Windermere and Whitehaven. When the LYR became part of the LMS in 1923 regular Manchester Expresses completed the journey in 40 minutes.
Liverpool Exchange was extensively damaged during the Second World War causing major disruption to services and the loss of part of the stations roof. In the Summer of 1968 the Liverpool Exchange to Glasgow Sunday express became the last scheduled passenger service to use steam power. Towards the end of the 1960's many of the express services were diverted to the nearby Liverpool Lime Street station although the electric service remained very busy and a DMU service operated to Wigan, Bolton and Manchester. By the 1970's the station had taken on an air of dereliction. For decades there had been proposals to link Liverpool's three termini (Exchange, Central High Level and Lime Street) with an extension to the underground Mersey Railway. Finally work began in the early 1970's on the construction of an underground loop and link line. A new underground station was built at Moorfields only meters away from the entrance to Liverpool Exchange and a new alignment was built to take the approach lines to Exchange down to this station. Electrification would also be extended along the former Bury Line to Kirkby.
On 20th April 1977 Liverpool Exchange Station closed and several days later trains were diverted to the new underground link line. The new link line now forms part of the Merseyrail Northern Line linking Hunts Cross in the south of the city with northern destinations of Southport, Ormskirk and Kirkby.
Information was extracted for the excellent site at (visit link) with thanks.
The street parking in the vicinity is restricted to residents. Better access (if not using the carpark) is from Old Leeds Street
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum