Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Liverpool's Lime Street - Lovely Large Station (2)

After just six years as the terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at Crown Street, the line was diverted to run more east to west ...
... a new station was constructed at Edge Hill and a new terminus was opened at Lime Street. Most blog readers will be familiar with the approaches to the Liverpool terminus ...
... through the Stygian depths of Edge Hill cutting. We will tootle that way soon, but first let us go and stand on platform 1 at Edge Hill and look west towards the terminus.
There is what might be called an "extra" tunnel mouth, with old and rusty rails entering the darkness. This is Victoria Tunnel. Like yesterday's Wapping Tunnel, its prime function was to carry freight, this time to/from the "northern" dock area. 

From its opening in 1849 until 1895 it was rope worked; but the rope broke and it was decided that steam locos would now be strong enough to haul trains back up to Edge Hill.

Knowledgeable Liverpudlians can follow the line of the tunnel by moving between ventilation shafts, but, for those of us with a less encyclopaedic knowledge of the city's streets, a few samples will suffice.

Should you wish to do some shaft-hopping, the Liverpool Echo has a video in-line flying you from Edge Hill to the docks and stopping at each tower.

Some are small, capped and look a little worse for wear ... 
... others are well maintained, this one refurbished in front of a modern office block.
At least one was, historically, barely visible squeezed in between terraced houses.
A house was demolished to make way for this one; but now the houses have gone, leaving the shaft fully exposed.
Pedantically, the Victoria tunnel ends at Byrom Street (A59) where there is a short cutting, a modest 60 feet long.
In order to build this, effectively a large ventilation shaft, several properties had to be razed to the ground. Whilst considering razing, it is worth pointing out that the tunnel is not deep and, occasionally, the excavation caused property above to subside and collapse. This was less than popular with the occupants!

At Fontenoy Street a second aperture opens up called Waterloo Tunnel ...
... which took trains the relatively short distance to the docks area. Near the docks, tracks appeared from the gloom through the so-called "Grand Arch" ...
... which carried (and still does carry) trains fron the north into Liverpool Central station. The tracks subsequently passed under Great Howard Street and into a huge warehouse  ...
... the Waterloo Goods Depot. Tracks continued through the depot and linked up with the Mersey Docks railway system and passed under the Overhead Railway.
In 1895 Liverpool Riverside station opened, specifically to provide passenger trains to/from transatlantic liners.
Here we see a train on its way from Riverside, across the Princes Dock swing bridge ...
... and on via Waterloo depot and up the hill to Edge Hill.

Trains approached the Riverside terminus through a gorge of high walls and warehousing.
The tower peeping up above the brickwork is that of the Liver Building, iconic Liverpool landmark.
From the station platform ...
... signs directed the well-heeled passengers via ramps ...
... direct to the quayside.

What is left today? Not as lot! The station is replaced by a complete redevelopment including. ironically, a reception marquee for cruise ships which have returned to Princes Parade in recent years replacing long disappeared liners to the USA.
The swing bridge has gone, but, where it once swung, a short length of track ...
... remains to remind folk of the glory days of luxury travel across the pond.
The Waterloo goods depot is long gone, replaced in part with a ventilation tower for the Mersey tunnel ...
...and, ignominy ot ignominy, a huge Costco warehouse!
The Grand Arch remains ...
... but Great Howard Street has been significantly upgraded.
Happily, the new road structure includes a clear memory of what once lay below and beyond.
The Victoria/Waterloo Tunnels line closed in 1972.

 Next Lime Street blog : Thursday 21st May 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner20 May 2020 at 10:06

    Interesting that the LNWR should show a "Precedent" at the head of a Riverside boat train. At this time the top-flight passenger locomotives would have been the Webb compounds: perhaps someone in the publicity department knew of their poor reputation! More to the point, weight restrictions meant that the only locomotives used there were two 0-6-0 tank engines with a main line one only coming on at Edge Hill - this state of affairs lasted until an upgrade was done in 1950!