Manchester Central railway station

Manchester Central railway station
Manchester Central
Manchester Central Station 7.jpg
Place Manchester
Area City of Manchester
Coordinates 53°28′34″N 2°14′51″W / 53.4761°N 2.2475°W / 53.4761; -2.2475Coordinates: 53°28′34″N 2°14′51″W / 53.4761°N 2.2475°W / 53.4761; -2.2475
Grid reference SJ837977
Original company Cheshire Lines Committee
Pre-grouping Cheshire Lines Committee
Post-grouping Cheshire Lines Committee
London Midland Region of British Railways
Platforms 9
1 July 1880 Opened
5 May 1969 Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Manchester Central railway station is a former railway station in Manchester City Centre, England. One of Manchester's main railway terminals between 1880 and 1969, it now houses an exhibition and conference centre named Manchester Central.



The station was built between 1875 and 1880 by the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC), and was officially opened on 1 July 1880. The architect was Sir John Fowler and the engineers were Richard Johnson, Andrew Johnston and Charles Sacré for the three companies which formed the CLC.[1][2]

While the main station was being built a temporary facility called Manchester Free Trade Hall Station (after a landmark building nearby) was in use from 9 September 1877. This consisted of two wooden platforms serving four tracks. When Central opened the temporary station was converted to become Manchester Central Goods.

On 6 October 1965, the final victim of the Moors Murders, 17-year-old apprentice engineer Edward Evans was met at the station by Ian Brady before he was brutally killed with an axe.[citation needed]

Construction details

The station's roof is a single span wrought iron truss structure 550 feet (168 m) long with a span of 210 feet (64 m), and was 90 feet (27 m) high at its apex above the railtracks. Glass covered the middle section, timber (inside) and slate (outside) covered the outer quarters. The end screens were glazed with timber boarding surrounding the outer edges. It was constructed by Andrew Handyside and Co. The substructure and masonry partition were provided by Robert Neill and Sons of Manchester. Underneath the train shed there is a large brick undercroft with intersecting tunnel vaults. This was used for storage and was connected to the adjacent goods sidings by a carriage lift.

Manchester Central Station on a winter's day in 1961

A wooden building was erected at the front of the station, housing ticket offices and waiting rooms. This was planned to be a temporary structure, to be replaced by a grander edifice, for example a hotel and railway offices as at London St Pancras, but it remained in use until the station closed. The Midland Hotel was built by the Midland Railway in 1898-1903 on an adjacent site.

Railway usage

Manchester railways 1910
Midland lines

The Midland Railway (MR), one of the CLC's partners, used Manchester Central as its terminus for services including express trains to London St Pancras. Beginning in 1938, the London Midland and Scottish Railway (successor to the MR) ran two prestige expresses, The Peaks and the Palatine, stopping en route at Chinley, Millers Dale, Matlock, Derby and Leicester.

Between 1960 and 15 April 1966, during the electrification of the West Coast Main Line, Central Station was the terminus for the Midland Pullman, a streamlined blue six-coach diesel multiple unit. This stopped at Cheadle Heath (now closed), before running fast to St Pancras.

Services through Millers Dale finished in July 1968 when the line was closed as a through route. The station provided local services to Chester and Liverpool but closed to passengers on 5 May 1969, when the remaining services were switched to Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations.

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Terminus   Cheshire Lines Committee
Manchester South District Line
Line and station closed
Cheshire Lines Committee
Manchester to Liverpool Line
Trafford Park
Line closed, station open
Cheshire Lines Committee
Mid-Cheshire Line
Line closed, station open

Post-railway era

Dereliction and redevelopment

Central Station car park (1980)

For over a decade, Central Station fell into a dilapidated state (including suffering a fire,) and was used as a car park. The property was acquired by Greater Manchester Council and in 1982 work began on converting the building into an exhibition centre, which opened in 1986 as the Greater Manchester Exhibition and Conference Centre ("G-Mex") (later renamed Manchester Central in honour of its railway history). The undercroft was converted into a car park, serving the centre and Bridgewater Hall.

Light rail

A Metrolink tram (1992)

The opening in 1992 of the Metrolink light rail system has seen the conversion of suburban heavy rail lines such as the former Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway to Altrincham, and there are further proposals to re-open the disused Cheshire Lines Committee route via Didsbury. With the introduction of Metrolink, rail services from south Manchester run once more to Central Station. However, instead of trains running into the Central Station arch, light rail vehicles now cross the railway viaduct and stop at Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink station (formerly G-Mex). They then run down a ramp which runs parallel to Lower Mosley Street, alongside the south-eastern side of the former train shed, before reaching street level where they operate as trams and head towards St Peter's Square.


See also


  1. ^ "G-Mex, Windmill Street". National Monuments Record. English Heritage. 2002-05-12. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  2. ^ Lashley, Brian (2009-050-05). "Manchester Central marks milestone". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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