Piccadilly Rail Station
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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.
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 story 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.