If you live on north Liverpool and rely on Merseyrail to get you home at night from the city, the chances are you’ll be hearing that a lot over the next six months; if you want to leave the city centre and head north or south using the Northern Line in that time you’ll have to head to Moorfields (pictured above, today).

Head south to Hunts Cross and you probably won’t notice much difference in your daily commute. But if you’re going north – to Ormskirk or Southport – you’ll be herded into lines delineated by barriers to wait your turn, rather like a dinner queue of school kids awaiting their daily gruel.

Liverpool Central – once one the city’s main national terminuses – is closed for renovation until August or October for the loop line and Northern Line respectively. “It’s not you, it’s me,” we were told by the underground railway station as it broke up with us.

We agreed. The station was dirty, scruffy, badly laid-out and thoroughly unloved. A renovation promises ‘natural light’ and extra lift but, for the time being, its loss is a major pain the backside for commuters and may change the dynamic of the city centre’s retail, transport and footfall as we await the new Central Village development (the rest of the city’s underground stations will be renovated over the next few years).

Liverpool Central back in the past - looking cool

The loss of Central means that many commuters must embark or disembark in the business district, as platform space on the city-centre Northern Line is at a premium – and the narrow spaces at Moorfields aren’t built for the extra capacity.

So it’s Southport on your left; Ormskirk down the middle for the forseeable. We’ve yet to observe other knock-on phenomena – beyond the deliberately slow approaches to Central (its escalators still, eerily, moving as if in uncomprehending of the lack of escalatees) to compensate for not stopping – that Central’s closing has had on the city.

Are you an affected commuter? Is your shop near Central – and has there been a decrease in footfall? Big Issue salesman with a suddenly-quiet patch? Let us know your experiences of Liverpool Central’s closure – and whether Merseyrail have exceeded your expectations, or whether they’re living up to their unfortunate similar-sounding sobriquet.

• A shuttle bus service will operate from Moorfields to Lime Street while the station is closed. There’s another replacement shuttle bus between Brunswick Station to Berry Street during that time.

As an alternative, Merseyrail suggests ‘walking’ – certainly ‘out of the box’. If you still need help head over to the Love Liverpool Central microsite.

7 Responses to “Southport on your left; Ormskirk down the middle”

  1. In theory it just means an extra couple of minutes’ walk for me as I’ll be getting off at Lime St instead of Central. But due to Merseyrail’s complete lack of common sense, it’s already more of a pain than it should be. There doesn’t seem to have been any attempt at Lime Street to cater for the extra footfall – no extra staff or turnstyles open – it must be even worse for users of the Northern Line being herded in and out of Moorfields

  2. bornagainst

    As someone who commuted to work on the northern line for 8 years, I think there are a number of questions regarding the closure of Central.

    Not least, why exactly is it going to take 6 months? This is an extraordinary amount of time. The website they’ve put up offers few clues as to what work will require a closure of this length.

    Sadly, this is surely long enough to send some commuters back to their cars for good?

    I seriously doubt that any main artery road would be closed in this manner. Contraflow / single lane would be in effect. Imagine the uproar if Derby Road was closed for this amount of time.

    Moorfields is simple unsuitable for the volume of additional foot passengers this closure will produce. Queuing system or not.

    My sympathy is with the commuters who are paying a decent wedge of money every month, and it must really stick in the throat to be so disregarded by Merseyrail.

  3. Robin Brown: I was visiting Southport. It wasn’t that much of a pain in indeed I wondered by I’d been going to Central all of these years. St Michaels is a bit of a walk across the park and up Lark Lane, but it was far less chaotic.

  4. May I be so bold as to point to my recent blog about Central’s closure, or is that not allowed? Delete as appropriate – themerseywayside.wordpress.com (didn’t nick the ‘Southport to the left’ thing, by the way – only just came across this piece).

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