|Place||Manchester city centre|
|Local authority||City of Manchester|
|Managed by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||14 (National Rail)|
2 (Manchester Metrolink)
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|1842||Opened as Store Street|
|1847||Renamed Manchester London Road|
|1960||Renovated and renamed Manchester Piccadilly|
|Listed feature||Train shed at Piccadilly Station|
|Listing grade||Grade II listed|
|Added to list||6 June 1994|
|National Rail - UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Manchester Piccadilly from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
Manchester Piccadilly is the principal railway station in Manchester, England. Opened as Store Street in 1842, it was renamed Manchester London Road in 1847 and Manchester Piccadilly in 1960. Located to the south-east of Manchester city centre, it hosts long-distance intercity and cross-country services to national destinations including London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, and Bournemouth; regional services to destinations in Northern England including Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and York; and local commuter services around Greater Manchester. It is one of 19 major stations managed by Network Rail. The station has 14 platforms, twelve terminal and two through platforms. Piccadilly is also a major interchange with the Metrolink light rail system with two tram platforms in its undercroft.
Piccadilly is the busiest station in the Manchester station group with over 30 million passenger entries and exits between April 2018 and March 2019, (the other major stations in Manchester are Oxford Road and Victoria). It is the fourth busiest station in the United Kingdom outside London. The station hosts services from six train operating companies. It is the second busiest interchange station outside London, with almost 3.8 million passengers changing trains annually.
Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Piccadilly Station was refurbished, taking five years and costing £100 million (in 2002), it was the most expensive improvement on the UK rail network at the time. Further improvements and expansion plans have been proposed. In December 2014, a Transport and Works Act application was submitted for the construction of two through platforms as part of the Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road Capacity Scheme. As of 2019, this application has not been approved by the incumbent government although Network Rail declared the rail corridor through Manchester 'congested' in September 2019. To allow the station to accommodate high speed services under High Speed 2 proposals, five platforms would be required and the Metrolink station would be reconfigured. A preferred option of the more speculative High Speed 3 programme requires the construction of more platforms underneath the existing platforms.
In June 1840, the Manchester and Birmingham Railway (M&BR) opened a temporary terminus on its line to Stockport on Travis Street. A large site, 1,700 ft (518 m) long by 500 ft (152 m) wide, was cleared of terraced houses and industrial premises to make way for the permanent station Store Street which was built on top of a viaduct, 30 ft (9 m) above ground level. The station was opened adjacent to London Road on 8 May 1842. It had two platforms, offices and passenger amenities and by then the line had been extended to Crewe. 
Store Street was designed by M&BR's chief engineer, George W. Buck, who designed many of the line's structures including the Stockport Viaduct.Charles Hutton Gregory was the assistant engineer. The station was shared from the beginning with the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway (SA&MR) following an agreement made by the promoters in 1837.
The M&BR amalgamated with other railway companies to create the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1846. The SA&MR changed its name to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) three years later.
In 1847, the station was renamed London Road. In 1849 the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJA&R) began using the station after its line from Manchester Oxford Road was extended. Its single platform which opened on 1 August 1849 to the south of, and adjacent to the main part of station, was the predecessor of through platforms 13 and 14. The MSJA&R's line connected to the main line south of the station and formed a through route to the LNWR's line to Liverpool.
By the 1850s, London Road was overcrowded and the relationship between the LNWR and MS&LR had deteriorated. In 1862, work started on rebuilding the station to expand it. The rebuild allowed the station to be divided; the MS&LR occupying the north-eastern side and the LNWR the south-western side. The station was given a new entrance building and concourse with each company having separate booking offices and passenger facilities. A 656 ft (200 m) long iron and glass trainshed was built over the terminal platforms; it had two 95 ft (29 m) wide arched spans, one covering the LNWR platforms and the other the MS&LR platforms. On 20 January 1866, a fatal accident occurred during the roof's construction, when part of it collapsed killing two workmen and injuring 30 others. The enquiry determined that the collapse was caused by strong winds and heavy snowfall. At the same time, both companies built warehouses around the northern side of the station, and the viaduct south of the station to Ardwick was widened to carry four tracks.
Within ten years, the station was again over-crowded as traffic continued to increase and expansion was again required. Between 1880 and 1883, the LNWR widened its side of the station and built more platforms, which were covered by two more 69 ft (21 m) wide arched spans to the trainshed. At the same time, the MSJ&AR platform was taken out and rebuilt as an island platform on a girder bridge over Fairfield Street and linked to the main station by a footbridge. In May 1882, the improvements were opened.
In 1910, the adjacent Mayfield station opened with four platforms to alleviate overcrowding at London Road. The stations were linked by a footbridge. Mayfield station closed to passengers in 1960 and to all traffic in 1986. The derelict station has remained in situ despite proposed redevelopment schemes including reopening it to relieve demand.
Following the 1923 railway grouping, the LNWR amalgamated with several other railway companies to create the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), and the GCR amalgamated with other railways to create the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). The division of the station was maintained and it continued to be operated as two separate stations even after the nationalisation of the railways in 1948: One side was used by the London Midland Region of British Railways, and the other by Eastern Region.
The London Midland Region rebuilt the station at a cost of £1.75 million (equivalent to £41,200,000 in 2020 prices) in preparation for electric train services to London. Most of the station was rebuilt, except for the Victorian trainsheds which remained mostly unaltered, although the two 1880's spans were shortened towards the concourse end. The station's reconstruction took place in two phases, 1958-60 and 1963-66, the break was the result of a national credit squeeze restricting funding for railway modernisation.
The former MSJA&R through platforms and bridges over Fairfield Street were rebuilt on a pre-stressed concrete slab bridge with cantilevered sides for the tracks. The layout in the trainshed was reconfigured to add several platforms. A new concourse and entrance was built, alongside which was a ten-storey office block which housed British Rail staff. On 11 May 1966, work was completed for the introduction of electric expresses to London.
The approach to the station was also redeveloped. The LNWR goods warehouse alongside the station approach closed in 1965 and a curved office block, Gateway House was opened in its place in 1969.
Piccadilly remained open throughout the reconstruction, but disruption was experienced and extensive use was made of Manchester Mayfield and Manchester Central stations by diverted trains. When the work was completed, these stations were no longer required, and were closed and their services were diverted into Piccadilly.
In the early 1970s, an underground station,Piccadilly Low Level was proposed as part of the Picc-Vic tunnel project. This scheme proposed creating a direct rail link between Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria, by building a tunnel and several underground stations under Manchester city centre. The project was cancelled in the late 1970s because of the high cost, and transport planners turned instead towards light rail as a lower-cost option. This resulted eventually in the Manchester Metrolink system which opened in the early 1990s linking the two stations by a street-level tramway and linking two converted rail lines to Altrincham and Bury. The tram stop in the station's undercroft opened in 1992.
Between 1988 and 1989, Piccadilly's through platforms 13 and 14 were further lengthened. This work was performed in conjunction with the opening of the Windsor Link chord in Salford, which allowed trains from destinations to the north of Manchester, such as Bolton, Preston, Blackpool and Scotland, to run directly into Piccadilly via the through platforms and continue south to destinations such as Manchester Airport, Stockport and Buxton. Once completed, it allowed for many services from the north to be diverted from Manchester Victoria, which was reduced in size, and enhanced Piccadilly's status as Manchester's main station. In 1988, the link was opened; it was declared to be fully operational during the following year.
Between 1998 and 2002, in preparation for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the station underwent a £100 million redevelopment. The glass roof of the trainshed, which is a Grade II listed structure was re-glazed and re-painted. A new main entrance and enlarged concourse with a mezzanine level, designed by BDP, replaced the 1960s structure, which had become insufficient for the number of passengers regularly using the station. A moving walkway was installed to take passengers from the concourse to platforms 13 and 14 at the far south end of the station, which had previously necessitated a long walk. Another entrance was also created on Fairfield Street, which provides access to a new taxi rank along with a drop-off point for private cars.
The station is unusual in having seen two different systems of overhead railway electrification: The first electrified line into London Road was the MSJA&R line to Altrincham, a busy commuter route. It was electrified with overhead lines, energised at 1,500 V DC in 1931. London Road was the terminus of the electrification scheme which ran through to the through platforms.
The second line to be electrified using 1,500 V DC was the LNER's Woodhead Route from Manchester to Sheffield. Work on the scheme commenced in the late 1930s, but was stopped due to the Second World War, before being restarted in the early 1950s. Electrification was completed in September 1954. The two electric 1,500 V DC lines ran into different parts of the station.
25 kV AC overhead electrification, adopted as the national standard by British Railways, was brought to London Road/Piccadilly in the West Coast Main Line electrification scheme starting in the late-1950s. The main line was electrified to Crewe by 1960 and London by 1966. At the same time, the 1,500 V electrification on the Altrincham line was cut back to Oxford Road to where the new system was extended from the south. The Altrincham line was converted to 25 kV in 1971.
The two systems co-existed for a number of years. The Woodhead Route was closed as a through line in 1981, but local services to Glossop and Hadfield continued to be operated by 1,500 V trains until the line was converted to 25 kV during 1984.
The listed train shed roof which is 105 metres wide between platforms 1 and 12, comprises four spans; two of the spans, 185 metres in length, were built over the eastern part of the station during the 1860s while the other two, at the western side measuring 150 metres, were constructed in the early 1880s. The roof is supported by masonry walls at the outer edges, which have round-headed windows alongside platforms 1 and 12, and rows of cast iron columns along the platforms in its interior space. The roof spans have an arrangement of wrought iron trusses with supporting cast iron struts on girders, which are evenly spaced between the columns.
As built, the roof was largely covered with slates with some areas of glazing; over time, the slates were replaced with boarded felt. Between 1997 and 1999, the station roof was refurbished and the traditional cladding was replaced with around 10,000 panes of toughened glass that 'float' above the wrought iron trusses. Layers of nets have been installed, to catch falling glass in the event of any of the panes were to break.
Below the train shed is the undercroft that was used as a goods station. Cast iron columns and brick arches support the terminal platforms directly above. Since the early 1990s, the undercroft accommodates the Metrolink station, its tracks, sidings, and car parking. Before it was reused for the Metrolink, the cast-iron columns throughout the undercroft were encased in concrete as a protective measure against collision.
George W. Buck designed the original skew arch bridge over Fairfield Street; it had ten cast iron arch ribs, which formed one part of the brick arch viaduct, and was topped with open stonework parapets. The bridge was subsequently widened and wrought iron plate girders and transverse girders were added to support longitudinal joists with iron arch plates. In the 1960s, in the reconstruction programme, the cast iron arches and spandrels were encased in concrete. Platforms 13 and 14 are situated on top of this bridge.
Many of the original station buildings were demolished during the 1960s to clear the way for a new approach. The main entrance leads to a concourse with ground floor, and since the 2000s, mezzanine levels. The Fairfield Street entrance leads to the Metrolink station in the undercroft and is linked to the rail platforms by escalators. Between 1997 and 2002, a redevelopment programme revised the station's layout and a glass partition wall with ticket barriers separating the concourse from the platforms was constructed. The station's approach leading to the end of Piccadilly was constructed in 1969 along with the "wavy" fronted Gateway House designed by the architect Richard Seifert. Gateway House was modernised during 2003.
The Fairfield Street entrance, at basement level, serves the car park, the taxi rank, and the Metrolink station. Above it at track level is a concourse into which the main entrance feeds, housing ticket offices, information points, seating, timetables, toilets, shops, and food and drink outlets. Above the concourse is a second level of food outlets and bars, and the Avanti West Coast First Class Lounge. On the main concourse, doorways in a large glass partition wall access platforms 1 to 12. A travelator leads to the upper concourse linked by a footbridge, steps and lift to platforms 13 and 14. The island lounge contains retail outlets, toilets and a departure lounge. There are vending machines, waiting areas and snack bars on platforms 13 and 14.
Manchester Piccadilly is accessible for disabled people and has escalators and lifts to all levels, wide-access doors and gates, braille signs, hearing loops and disabled toilet facilities.
Cycle racks are available on Fairfield Street and the long-stay car park and next to the tower block at the station front. During March 2010, Manchester City Council and Network Rail unveiled plans for a 'Cycle Centre' to provide secure facilities and on-site maintenance and hire services. The station has a taxi rank, drop-off/pick-up point, and short- and long-stay car parks. accessible from Fairfield Street. The long-stay multi-storey car park is at the rear of the station.
Ticket barriers were installed in Autumn 2016 between platforms 3 and 7, following an application by Virgin Trains. Ticket barriers were fitted on platforms 1-3 by TransPennine Express, Platforms 9-12 remain ungated but for most of the day are staffed with ticket inspectors.
Platform 1 is at the north end of the station and the through platforms 13 and 14 are at the south end. Of the terminus platforms, 1-4 are typically used by eastbound services to Marple, New Mills, Rose Hill and Sheffield via the Hope Valley Line, and services on the Glossop Line, platforms 5-9 are the longest and are used mainly by Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains) and CrossCountry services, platforms 10-12 are considerably shorter than the others and are usually used to accommodate local trains to Crewe and Manchester Airport, plus Mid-Cheshire line, Buxton Line and South Wales services; platform 12 is the shortest and can only accommodate three coaches. The main entrance and concourse are to the front of the terminal platforms and the taxi and car drop-off entrance is on the southern side on Fairfield Street. The Metrolink tram line passes under the station through the undercroft. Its platforms are under the concourse and railway platforms. To the south of Piccadilly, on the opposite side of Fairfield Street, is the derelict Manchester Mayfield station, which was closed for railway use during 1986.
In 2009, the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority advocated reopening the neighbouring derelict Mayfield station to alleviate capacity problems but the proposal was not advanced; plans focused on increasing track capacity on the cross-city route between Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations were pursued.
During the early 2010s, Network Rail promoted its Northern Hub plans, estimated to cost in excess of £560 million to improve the heavily congested rail network on the approach into Manchester. A pair of through platforms would be constructed at Piccadilly and the station linked to Manchester Victoria via the Ordsall Chord, cutting journey times on Trans-Pennine routes. The construction of the Ordsall Chord made it possible for trains from the airport to travel via platforms 13 and 14 and Oxford Road to Manchester Victoria and Leeds and via the Calder Valley Line to Bradford Interchange.
Phase 2 aims to alleviate congestion at platforms 13 and 14 by constructing a parallel elevated island platform and allow the minimum time between trains to be decreased from four to three minutes, improving reliability. It will allow four more trains an hour to be timetabled to Oxford Road including a second freight to Trafford Park. Approval for the platforms, at an estimated cost of £200 million, was announced during July 2012.
The proposals would simplify train operations at Piccadilly, creating close associations between pairs of lines leading out of the station and particular platforms while requiring only a few crossing moves. Platforms 1 to 4 would be primarily used for services on the 'east' lines, to and from Marple, Glossop and Huddersfield; platforms 5 to 12 would be for services on the 'fast' lines, to and from Crewe and Stoke; through platforms 13 to 16 would be dedicated to services on the present 'slow' lines, to and from Manchester Airport and Hazel Grove.
In July 2013, Network Rail consulted on three options for the additional platforms at Piccadily, all of which would affect local roads and the Grade II listed Star and Garter public house.
Construction was originally due to begin in 2016, but the project has now been delayed indefinitely.
To accommodate High Speed 2 (HS2), an extension would require four platforms and a 7.5 miles (12.1 km) tunnel under south Manchester to join the West Coast Main Line at Ardwick. Journey times to Manchester Airport would be reduced to 9 minutes from 18, Birmingham 41 minutes from 86 minutes and London 68 minutes from 128. Station upgrades could include enhanced Metrolink services, improved road access and car parking. The line is planned to be completed by 2032.
A major redevelopment of the station and surrounding area has been proposed to complement the HS2 proposals involving the construction of a canopy over the HS2 platforms, the creation of a new entrance, and office, retail and residential development. Designs indicate that the derelict Mayfield Station and the Gateway House office block will be demolished. The plans were approved by the Government in November 2016.
High Speed 3 proposals include the construction of new platforms under Piccadilly station and the proposed HS2 platforms. The 2016 "Manchester Piccadilly Options Assessment" by the National Infrastructure Commission stated: "Addition of Northern Powerhouse Rail and Station to the Manchester Piccadilly system will be the last step of the process of transforming the station in to [sic] a transport super hub. The NPR station and its construction will need to be considered throughout the design and implementation of the other station improvements which form the station concept but which are delivered earlier. The NPR station is proposed to stay underground on its way east as it passes through Manchester city. This provides opportunities and offers location and orientation alternatives. Staying under the existing Piccadilly station or positioning NPR under the HS2 station box will maximise interchange efficiencies and travel distances. The orientation will also dictate the number of vertical connection cores also referred to as "drums" and their locations. The drums will have the function to connect all levels of transport to one and other [sic] at critical junction points.
During October 2017, according to a report to the Manchester City Council's executive, of the various proposals submitted, the development of an underground station has been selected as the preferred option for accommodating the envisioned HS3 services, which are speculated to involve the running of up to eight trains per hour, as well as connecting services with the in-development HS2. The importance of directly integrating this underground facility with the existing Piccadilly Station has been emphasized as well; however, the report observes that the necessary financing for the programme is still lacking.
The station has 12 terminus platforms for services terminating from locations to the south of Manchester, and two through platforms, 13 and 14. The platforms are split into A and B sections to allow more than one train to stand. The through platforms 13 and 14 are used by through services via Manchester Oxford Road to North Wales, Liverpool, North West England, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and through services from Manchester Airport.
Manchester Piccadilly is currently served by six train operating companies:
Northern Trains Route 6:
Cumbrian Coast & Windermere Lines
All services (except for the 10:30 departure) are booked for a Class 175 Coradia unit. Class 158 Express Sprinter and occasionally Class 150 Sprinter units are seen operating these services when 175s are not available. Two services on the North Wales Coast route are operated by Mark 3 carriages hauled by a Class 67.
TransPennine Express operate services on three routes.
Class 185 Desiro units operate most TransPennine Express services, with the exception of the Scottish services which are operated by Class 350 Desiro units. The Class 185s were supplemented on the Hull and Cleethorpes services by Class 170 Turbostar units until July 2016 (these have now been transferred to Chiltern Railways).
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Manchester - Chester / North Wales Coast
Liverpool to Norwich
TransPennine North West
Liverpool to Manchester Airport
Manchester to Crewe
Manchester to Stoke
Manchester to Glossop
Mid Cheshire line
Southport to Alderley Edge
Blackpool North to Hazel Grove
Blackpool North to Manchester Airport
Barrow-in-Furness/Windermere to Manchester Airport
Liverpool Lime Street to Crewe via Manchester Airport
West Coast Main Line
High Speed 2
Northern Powerhouse Rail
Northern Powerhouse Rail
Piccadilly tram stop, showing the northbound (former departure) platform, the southbound platform is behind the concrete partition on the right.
Location of Piccadilly in Greater Manchester
|Place||Manchester city centre|
|Local authority||City of Manchester|
|Fare zone information|
|Present status||In operation|
|Original operator||Manchester Metrolink|
|Opened||20 July 1992|
The Piccadilly Metrolink tram stop is located at ground level in the undercroft underneath the main line station; an area of the station which was historically used for warehousing, it is one of nine stops serving Manchester city centre, within the system's Zone 1. Trams enter the stop from the streets in each direction via short tunnels. There are two platforms, one for trams towards Etihad Campus and Ashton-under-Lyne , and one for trams towards Bury, Eccles and Altrincham. There are steps, lifts and escalators between the platform level and a mezzanine level, along with further steps, lifts and escalators that connect with the main line station's concourse. There are also multiple entrances present at ground level from the surrounding streets.
On 20 July 1992, the tram station was first opened, originally being known as Piccadilly Undercroft. As the stop was located directly underneath the main line station platforms, the then station operator British Rail required that it be built inside a protective concrete box, in order to protect the cast iron supports for the main line platforms from the possibility of collision or fire damage.
As Piccadilly originally served as a terminus of the system, early operations saw one platform being used for arrivals from Altrincham, Bury, and later Eccles, and the other platform was used for departures. Empty trams ran from the arrival platform into a nearby reversing siding in a tunnel, where they would reverse and then enter the departure platform. From the onset, the stop had been designed with future extension in mind; as such, since the opening of the extension towards Ashton in 2013, the former arrivals platform has also been used for departures towards Ashton as well as terminating trams, while the former departures platform also handles arrivals from Ashton. Terminating trams use a reversing siding on the Ashton line between Piccadilly and New Islington tram stops.
During 2008, the tram station was refurbished, after which it became the first station to display the new Metrolink corporate identity. Station signage bears the yellow and silver livery as applied to the new generation of trams since 2009.
According to TfGM, the Piccadilly tram station is one of the most frequented stops on the Metrolink network.
As of 2019, Manchester Piccadilly stop is the terminus for Metrolink services to Bury and Altrincham, and a major stop on the through services between Eccles and MediaCityUK and Ashton-under-Lyne. Services mostly run every 12 minutes on all routes.
|Preceding station||Manchester Metrolink||Following station|
|Bury - Piccadilly Line||Terminus|
|Altrincham - Piccadilly Line|
|Eccles - Ashton-under-Lyne Line||
|MediaCityUK - Ashton-under-Lyne Line||
It noted that Network Rail had highlighted that the Corridor has congestion issues between 0700 and 2000 and would be more than happy to contractually agree to the additional rights being confined to the proposed hours of operation.
City Centre and North
Past, present and future