Liverpool Central Station – the busiest station in the city – has been closed since April 2012 to allow work to take place on a £20 million project.
The work consists of two phases, one to open up the upper concourse area of the station and the other to renew the finishes of the underground platforms and associated passageways.
The first phase of the project, jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Merseytravel, started in October 2011 on the upper concourse and is being managed by Merseyrail Electrics. The work on the lower levels of the station, managed by Network Rail, began in April 2012, and necessitated the closure of the station.
Head of Property and Programme Management at Merseyrail, Simon Olorenshaw, explained the work involved on the upper concourse area of the station:
“In Liverpool, we have five underground stations and Liverpool Central is the busiest of them, with 17.9 million passengers per year. The project which Merseytravel is delivering will open up the concourse to provide more space.
“We will be improving access to the lift and re-aligning the gate lines for the ticket barriers to allow a smoother flow of passengers into and out of the station. We are also working to provide increased passenger facilities including new waiting areas, additional toilets, disabled access toilets, information screens supplemented by improved CCTV coverage. We will also be increasing the amount of natural light in the station.”
Simon Olorenshaw added:
“The second part of the project involves replacing materials underground on the platforms and in the passageways serving them. The current Liverpool Central station was built in the 1970’s and a lot of the materials that were used do not comply with the current sub-surface fire regulations.
“Following the introduction of the sub-surface fire regulations we were required to change a lot of the materials when their life expired. Network Rail is leading the lower-level project which is really replacing all non-compliant materials including platform surfaces, cladding and tunnel linings.”
The main contractor for the concourse works is Strategic Team Group, and Morgan Sindall is the main contractor for the underground phase.
On the upper level Serco Project Services managed the design, and they worked with various companies including Studio Mad for architectural services and JNP for structural engineering works.
In terms of materials, on the lower levels and platforms a ceramic tile will be laid for the new floor surface and this will replace the old rubber flooring. A vitreous enamel panel is being used on the walls so that they are robust and vandal proof, and an aluminium-type panel is being used for the lining of the tunnels.
Simon Olorenshaw said:
“It’s a testament to the two teams – Network Rail and Merseytravel – that they are able to deliver such a large project in confined spaces and within a tight timescale. We were keen to see the station remain open for the Grand National in April and reopen for the Mathew Street Festival, a city centre wide music festival, on 26th and 27th August, to accommodate the large amount of passengers that pass through the station for these events.
“The period when Liverpool Central is closed is probably the most disruptive phase of the overall project. Over the next two or three years there will be some disruption around the network as we improve the other five stations in central Liverpool, but the benefits of this work is going to be immense. In total the project is worth around £40 million and represents a major transformation for Liverpool.”