Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Manchester Central Railway Station

From Graces Guide
The former station in 2010

This terminus station was used by:-

The station opened in 1877, but the great hall was not opened until 1 July 1880. It closed in 1969, and is now used as an exhibition hall.

'The past twelve months have seen great progress made with the new viaduct of the Cheshire Lines Committee, between Cornbrook and Manchester, which, when complete, will be one of the largest constructions of the kind in this neighbourhood.

'As is well known, the object of its construction is to give the Cheshire Lines Committee direct communication to their new station, now in course of erection in Windmill-street, from their line to Warrington, Liverpool, and other portions of their system — in other words, it is the completion of what is known as the Manchester end of the Liverpool Extension Railway.

'At the present time there can be no question that the Cheshire Lines Committee are placed at a great disadvantage competing for Liverpool traffic, in consequence of a lack of station accommodation. The trains themselves are excellent, and have already become favourably known for their unusual punctuality, but the accommodation, both at the London-road terminus and at the Oxford-road station, is far from satisfactory. When the new Central Station is completed all complaint on that score will be removed, for it will, like the terminus at the Liverpool end of the line, be of the most commodious character.

'It is needless to say that the new line between this city and Liverpool has been in use for some time, but the Cheshire Lines Committee's system extends only to Cornbrook from Liverpool, and in order to obtain access to London-road Station it has been and is now necessary to run over a portion of the Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway. The new viaduct will give the committee a line entirely of their own. ......

(See Castlefield Viaducts (Manchester) for the 1876 description of the new viaducts).

..... 'There can be no doubt that the construction of this station is the most important public improvement now being carried out in Manchester. No one who was not familiar with the plot of land and the class of property which formerly stood upon it before the Cheshire Lines Committee purchased the ground and demolished it, can form an opinion as to the radical change which has been effected. Railways, it is said, have done more towards the improvement of our great towns than all other agencies combined. In this particular case they have achieved, or will when the work contemplated is carried out, have achieved an improvement which, probably, would never have been attempted had they not come forward and done it unless the Corporation had dwelt with the spot under the Dwellings Act. The Railway Company, however, have removed the objectionable property and they are erecting a station which, when completed, will be by far the most commodious, as well as, we hope, the most slightly [!] building of the kind in the city. It was stated in a private committee of the House of Commons early this year, in connection with a bill which the Cheshire Lines Committee were interested, that the construction of their line between Manchester and Liverpool, the stations at each end, they proposed to spend about three millions sterling. Of this sum the Central Station in Liverpool and the line between that and Manchester absorb about two-thirds, the remaining third devoted to the new Manchester station and its approaches. This sum may seem large, but when the vastness of the structure is considered, and the cost of the site and works no feeling of astonishment need be entertained. To the general observer who sees the work being carried out on the station as he passes to and fro it would appear that very little had to the present been done towards the completion of the work. But examination would soon remove that impression—for much of the most difficult and tedious work has already been accomplished. Formerly an arm of the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal ran through the site of the Station from Lower Mosely-street to Watson-street, but parliamentary powers were obtained to close it, and the canal has been stopped up by the construction of a heavy, retaining wall at the mouth of the tunnel under Watson-street, and by a dam adjoining Lower Mosley-street. The surface of ground which the station, when complete, will cover, extends from Lower Mosley-street to Watson-street, in one direction, and from Windmill-street to Great Bridgewater-street, and thence narrowing gradually to Deansgate in the other. The front of the station will be to Windmill-street, set back from the present street line, at a distance of about a hundred and twenty feet, while its frontage will be about two hundred and fifty feet. The present street line will be retained by the construction of a low wall with an ornamental palisade up, by which means the street traffic will be kept clear from traffic to the station. There will be three entrances, one of which will front South-street, one will be at the corner of Lower Mosley-street, and one facing Mount-street, which street is to be widened. From the back of the booking offices, in Windmill-street, to Great Bridgewater-street the station will be carried on a viaduct, consisting of arches, of thirty feet span, springing from piers of brickwork five feet in thickness. These arches will be available for storage purposes. The remainder of the ground will be used a goods yard, &c., to which access will be obtained by inclined road from Windmill-street. Some idea may be formed of the size of the station and the convenience it will be capable of affording, when it is stated that there will be nine passenger platforms, and altogether eleven lines of railway, and that, with the accommodation of goods traffic, upwards of twenty lines of rails will cross Great Bridgewater-street. An important element of the construction of the station is that convenience to be provided for the disposal of excursion, fish and milk traffic, an arrangement which will commend itself to all travellers on more grounds than one.

'As to the design which should be followed in the construction of the station, of course a matter of such importance was not be settled without careful investigation. The question has now, however, been settled and the contract let to Messrs. Handyside and Co., of Derby. It has been decided that the roof shall be of one span of 210 ft. in the clear, extending for about 560 ft. from the booking-offices to the south end. The roof will consist of wrought-iron lattice principals, similar to those used in the construction of the St. Pancras Station of the Midland Company of London. These principals are placed at a distance of 35 feet apart, are 5ft. 3in. deep, and are composed of wrought iron plates and channel irons connected by iron diagonal bracing, the roof covering, consisting of slates and glass. That portion the roof between the main principals is carried by wrought iron purlins. The plan adopted in the construction of the station will make it light and airy, while ample provision will be made for carrying off water from the roof, and for giving access to any part of the structure for the purpose of executing any necessary repairs. At each end of the station there is a gable scree, a space of 25 feet which intervenes between the booking-office and the north end, being covered with a light Paxton roofing extending the whole width of the station. The side walls will be of ornamental brickwork with openings for light, and to give access to the extra platforms when required. They will be carried to height of about 40 feet above the level of the rails, and upon them will rest the intermediate ribs of the roof. The space between the main principals of the haunches, being filled in with brackets for ornamental design. Throughout the entire structure there will be no obstruction whatever in the shape of pillars or supports to the roof. The whole area of the station therefore, which covers 13,000 square yards, will be one open space. One of the main objects which has been kept in view in deciding to construct the station on this principle, has been that when necessity occurs alterations may be made in the position of the platforms or the rails. It may be mentioned that this is the only station between London and Glasgow in which the roof is constructed of one clear span, and in order to enable comparison to be made we may state that St. Pancras Station has a span 240 ft., St. Enoch's Station, Glasgow, the roof of which is now being fixed by Messrs. Handyside and Co., the contractors to whom the work of the Central Station has been let, a span of 198 ft., and the Central Station, Manchester, a span of 210 ft. The sub-structure of the station is being executed Messrs. R. Neil and Sons, and the construction of the viaduct by Mr. Edward Johnson, both of this city, and the whole of the work being carried out under Mr. H. L. Moorson as resident engineer. The chief engineers engaged in the work are Mr. Lacré [Sacré], of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire; Mr. Johnson, of the Great Northern; and Mr. A. Johnston, of the Midland Companies.'[1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Monday 18 December 1876