Manchester Transport




Manchester Mainline Railway Stations

Piccadilly Rail Station

Manchester Piccadilly Station, Fairfield Street, Manchester M60 7RT.

Network Rail Manchester

National Rail Enquiries
-- Telephone: 08457 48 49 50
-- Rail Enquiries from overseas: +44(0)20 7278 5240
-- Rail Enquiries Textphone: 0845 60 50 600
-- Welsh language: 0845 60 40 500.

National Rail Journey Planner
-- Website:

Piccadilly Rail Station Manchester

Most rail passengers arriving at Manchester will discover that Piccadilly Station is their first taste of the city of Manchester. Its original iron sheds with their decorative cast iron columns was built in the 1880s, as part of the former London Road Station, as the road from which you enter the Station Approach is the old London Road. It was the terminus of the Manchester and Birmingham railway line, and the old station dated from 1842. The original station was named London Road Station, and only changed its name to Piccadilly in relatively recent years.

Piccadilly Station, Manchester
Piccadilly Rail Station, Manchester. Aerial Photo Courtesy of © 2005

In its day it was a major achievement, as it made travel to London direct by rail a possibility in a travel time of nine and a half hours. Today it takes just over two and a half hours. But in the 1840s, the alternative was to travel by stagecoach, and this was a 24 hour journey.
In its day it was a major achievement, as it made travel to London direct by rail a possibility in a travel time of nine and a half hours. Today it takes just over two and a half hours. But in the 1840s, the alternative was to travel by stagecoach, and this was a 24 hour journey.
The present station buildings and tower were completed in 1969, with a new station approach and a massive area facelift - the serpentine glass and steel of Gateway House (architects Richard Seifhart and Partners) following the curve of the drive to the station.
The original 1842 Railway Crest still adorns the entrance. All but one of the many classic warehouses and goods stores which served the station were demolished in this mid-1960s refurbishment. The sole surviving warehouse is the MS&LR seven storey London Warehouse of 1876, still standing behind Gateway House.
A ten storey office block also dominates the station's frontage. Piccadilly Station serves all destinations south for both inter-city and local routes. Also behind Gateway House are the station Car Parks. The station also serves as a terminus for the Metrolink Rapid Transit Tram, which connects Piccadilly with Victoria Station.

First TransPennine Express (TPE)

TPE operate regular services to Manchester from a number of stations and offers discounts and savings on many of these routes. See their website at

Victoria Rail Station

Station Approach, (off Corporation Street), Todd Street, Manchester M3 1PB.

Originally a small single storey single platform building built in 1844 on Hunts Bank to serve the Man chester & Leeds trans-Pennine railway, by the 1880s Victoria Station had come to dominate the Long Millgate area and was one of the biggest passenger stations in Britain.
The original 700 foot long iron and glass train sheds still survive intact, thanks to sturdy design and construction by George Stephenson. These sheds obliterated the virtual shanty town and slum buildings of the former Toad Lane (later renamed Todd Street)..
The present Edwardian building facade was built on in 1902 by architect William Dawes. It has a 160 yard facade, which still carries an iron and glass canopy bearing the names of the original destinations which it served. These were severely damaged by the IRA bomb which was exploded nearby in 1996. Fortunately, the glasswork has now been fully restored to its former glory.
Immediately adjoining the station used to stand the Exchange Station, which boasted the longest passenger platform in the world - but - severely damaged by wartime bombings, it was closed in 1969, and now survives largely as an unprepossessing carpark opposite the Cathedral.
Further redevelopment of Victoria Station took place in 1992 on the basis of a £35 million grant to upgrade the old station and to link it to the newly constructed (originally) Nynex Arena (now the Manchester Evening News Arena) adjacent to it on Hunts bank. This grant was to form part of the Govenment's commitment in support of Manchester's abortive bid to host the 2000 Olympics in the city.

Tiled map of railway systems in the North West region at Victoria Station., Manchester
Tiled wall map of railway systems in the North West region at Victoria Station.
Photo copyright © 2010 Gloria Moss, Papillon Graphics

Nowadays, largely serving destinations north and east of Manchester, it is the main terminus for the new Nynex Arena, and a major interface where the Metrolink train joins the streets of Manchester as an urban tramway. Also a major rail-bus interchange, the station is linked directly to Piccadilly Station by Metrolink.

Liverpool Road Station

Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP.
Liverpool Road Station ranks as one of, if not the, most important railway stations in Britain. Manchester can be said to have been the place where the Railway Age began. It was the service established between Liverpool and Manchester which first demonstrated the feasibility of rail as a viable public transport system. Opened to the public on 15th September 1830, it marked the terminus of the newly created line which ran from Liverpool to Manchester, and it is now part of the Museum of Science and Industry.
The Liverpool & Manchester Railway came to the city when Joseph Cowlishaw, a Manchester corn merchant, Joseph Saunders, also a corn merchant, from Liverpool, and a wealthy estate agent and surveyor named William James formed a company, surveyed the likely route and proposed the building of the railway line.
George Stephenson was employed to construct this new feat of engineering. In 1825, the proposal was submitted to Parliament and rejected; the next year, despite strong opposition from some quarters, leading engineers George and John Rennie were brought in to re-survey the proposal, and as a result the Bill was successfully passed and work began on constructing the line.
The station building and the warehouse opposite date from the earliest days of railway history. It was to this station that the Rainhill Trials to choose a locomotive to pull passenger coaches between Liverpool and Manchester arrived.
George Stephenson's ubiquitous "Rocket" being the winner. The rail link, together with the canal system, was instrumental in the growth of Manchester's industrial base in the 19th century.

Manchester Central Station

(also known as GMEX - now reverted to "Manchester Central")

Windmill Street, (off Lower Moseley Street), Manchester M2 3GX.
Tel: 0161-834 2700. Fax: 0161-833 3168. Email:

GMEX - Manchester Central
GMEX, formerly Central Station, Manchester. Aerial Photo Courtesy of © 2005

Resurrected after lying derelict for many years, the old Central Station which originally connected by rail the City of Manchester to Liverpool was closed in the late 1960s. In its new form - the Greater Manchester Exhibition Centre (GMEX) was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1986, having cost more than �20million in converting it to one of England's finest exhibition centres.
At over 10,000 square metres it is also one of the country's largest, the whole space being open without interior supporting pillars, its vast vaulted roof held up by sheer engineering ingenuity and simple geometry. The hall can seat over 9000 people. There are an additional 2,250 square metres of surrounding land adjacent to the main hall for temporary buildings and exhibitions, with onsite parking for over 1,500 cars. Regular exhibitions are held there - everything from Aquatic to Computer Fairs, Caravans and Home Exhibitions. The Conservative Party held their annual party conference here in 2011.
It also frequently hosts musical and performance events, having already added Luciano Pavarotti, Simply Red and a Torville & Dean Ice Spectacular to its repertoire. The conversion of the old Central Station into its present form is typical of the kind of urban renewal and inner city transformations which the City of Manchester Council and the Central Manchester Development Corporation have undertaken over the past decade, much to their credit and to the approval of the citizens of Manchester.
This is a major stopping off point for Metrolink Trams, not only for GMEX itself, but for Castlefield.

See Also: Coming of the Railways - Castlefield

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Copyright © John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom - all rights reserved.
This page last updated 27 Nov 12.