Congratulations to Manchester Piccadilly, which is the 2016 National Rail Awards Major Station of the Year.
It has beaten off stiff competition to win this thorough deserved accolade.
The highly-respected team of NRA judges point out that the station is often underestimated when it comes to thinking about what is needed to run such a vital station so smoothly. In their report, they said: “Manchester Piccadilly was the best all-round Major station. 14 years after its restoration, it is in excellent repair and offers a classic balance between operations and retail. It has friendly & helpful staff; easy access; good interchanges, clear signing and a clean environment.”
It is a key location for Arriva Trains Wales, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Northern, TransPennine Express and Virgin Trains East Coast while it is also served in the undercroft by Manchester Metrolink.
Largely a terminus station, with 12 platforms terminating platforms, there are also two busy through platforms.
It is the city’s principal railway station. Dating from 1842 when it opened as Store Street, it was renamed Manchester London Road five years later and retained that until 1960.
Passenger usage continues to rise. Office of Rail and Road statistics showed that 24.615 million passengers used it in 2014/2015, up from 24.476m in 2013/2014 and up more than 3m from the 21.279m in 2010/2011. This makes it the fourth busiest station outside London, and the second busiest interchange station outside the capital.
It benefitted from a £100 million refurbishment in 2001-2002 in time for the Commonwealth Games that were held in the city. The station was refurbished with a larger concourse and improved road access.
The station’s train shed is listed. It is 105 metres wide and consists of four spans. Two of these date from the 1860s while the others at the western side date from the early-1880s.
Facilities at the station include a car park. Taxi rank and the Metrolink station within the Undercroft. The concourse houses ticket offices, information points, seating, shops and toilets. There are multiple refreshment facilities available too. Virgin Trains has a first class longue situated above the concourse. There are cycle racks available for passengers as well as a drop-off point for taxis and short-stay car parks.
“Manchester Piccadilly was modernised for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has been kept in excellent condition over the subsequent 14 years.
“It is easy to underestimate this smooth operating station which continues to offer a light and cheerful environment, supported by helpful staff and plentiful indicators and signage. The station operates well, whilst offering a good balance range of retailing, lounges and other facilities. It also offers good transport interchange between trains, trams, buses and taxies.”