The Anonymous Widower

Will Platforms 15 And 16 At Manchester Piccadilly Ever Be Built?

I ask this question, as I have read this article on the Manchester Evening News, which is entitled Doubts cast over plans for two new platforms at Manchester Piccadilly train station.

This is said.

A shadow of doubt is looming over plans to expand Manchester Piccadilly after Network Rail’s boss admitted they are looking at the ‘cost-benefit ratio’.

The words of Mark Carne, chief executive at Network Rail, will raise fears of delay – or even cancellation – of the building of platforms 15 and 16.

For myself, I dread when I see my train is leaving or arriving at the current Platforms 13 or 14 at Manchester Piccadilly station.

The architect who designed this mess was a total idiot.

  • Access is terrible.
  • There needs to be escalator and lift access between the platforms and the street below.
  • The platform is not wide enough for safety.

I just wonder if there could be an interim solution to Platforms 15 and 16 at Manchester Piccadilly.

  • Rebuild Platforms 13 and 14 to a modern safe standard.
  • Provide a second access route to the platforms from the main station.
  • Provide direct access to the platforms  from the street.
  • Provide direct escalator access to the trams.
  • Future-proof Platforms 13 and 14 for decent access from the proposed HS2 platforms.

Obviously, a design would be used, that can be expanded to add Platforms 15 and 16.

To be fair, since the platforms were built in 1960, station and railway design has moved on.

In London, we have Thameslink, that will handle 24 main line trains per hour (tph) at four stations in Central London. Soon, Thameslink will be joined by Crossrail, which will handle the same frequency of trains on an East-West axis across London.

I’ve stood on that crowded island platform at Manchester Piccadilly,  many times and certainly the frequency of trains is nowhere near 24 tph and perhaps just half that figure.

If they can do it on Thameslink and Crossrail, then surely they can do it on Platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly.

To accommodate, an increased number of trains would require.

  • Rebuilding of Platforms 13 and 14 to a modern standard with better access to the main station, the street and the Metrolink.
  • Updating of Oxford Road and Deansgate stations to safely handle the increased number of trains and passengers.
  • Installation of Automatic Train Control (ATO) as on Thameslink and Crossrail, through Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Deansgate.

Get it right and it could bring more than just the obvious benefits  of more capacity, less cost, earlier implementation and future-proofing.

Could Platforms 13 And 14 Become A Separate Station?

I ask this question, as Platforms 13 and 14 have a similar relationship to the main Piccadilly station, as Waterloo East station has to Waterloo station.

Waterloo East station is certainly nor perfect, but after the installation of the balcony at Waterloo and a better bridge between the two stations, it is getting there.

In my view Waterloo East still needs.

  • Direct access to and from street level.
  • Better access to Waterloo tube station.

Perhaps it could all be funded by sympathetic development on top of a new station.

I can’t see why a similar approach couldn’t be taken at Platform 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly.

The new station would have.

  • Walk-in access from the street.
  • Easy access from the Metrolink.
  • A ticket hall.
  • Step-free access to the platforms.
  • Appropriate oversite development,like perhaps a hotel, offices and housing.

I shall call it Manchester Piccadilly South in the rest of this post.

I think that making the station separate could be the best way to go. Especially, if the developer of the oversite development could be persuaded to contribute to the station.

A Station For Manchester Airport

Most of the current nine trains per hour ( tph) to and from Manchester Airport use Platforms 13 and 14.

So if a Manchester Piccadilly South station is created, this would make it easier for travellers using the train to get to the airport.

It would also be more convenient if all Manchester Airport services called at these platforms.

Through Trains Only

Some trains appear to start from Platform 13B at Manchester Piccadilly..

If services were reorganised, surely this will stop, as you don’t use through platforms to terminate services.

Could The Development Of Platforms 13 and 14 Be Done Without Halting Train Services?

I suspect, that Network Rail’s contractors have a lot of experience of rebuilding platforms like these, whilst keeping the trains running.


I can certainly understand Network Rail’s thinking on perhaps cancelling Platforms 15 and 16.




January 9, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | ,


  1. Thank you for covering Manchester rail issues. I agree that Piccadilly platforms 13 and 14 are less than ideal, although with the travelator ramps are easier accessed than previously.

    Hence I agree with your suggestions for:

    •Rebuild Platforms 13 and 14 to a modern safe standard.
    •Provide a second access route to the platforms from the main station.
    •Provide direct access to the platforms from the street.
    •Provide direct escalator access to the trams.

    At the time the platforms were built in 1960, BR likely wanted to minimise expense, hence the less than ideal design solution.

    However, as the Ordsall Chord comes into use, there will be a much greater frequency of trains along platforms 13 & 14, which Network Rail really needs to take this into account, plus significant growth potential

    Comment by rapidtransitman | January 9, 2017 | Reply

    • I could see a situation arising, where the main Piccadilly station and the rebuilt Platforms 13 and 14 had a similar relationship to that between Waterloo and Waterloo East station.

      With automatic Train Operation. as is used on Thameslink and Crossrail, Platforms 13 and 14, should be able to hanfle 24 tph in both directions, which probably twice what goes through now!

      Comment by AnonW | January 9, 2017 | Reply

  2. Manchester Piccadilly 13 and 14 aren’t thameslink, there won’t be ATO, you can’t add ATO to every train running through 13 and 14. Thameslink is a captive system. This isn’t. There’s already access to street but it’s not used. The platforms are plenty wide enough given the constraints. The structure it’s on isn’t in great condition, rebuilding it without full closure would be pretty much impossible. Castlfield corridor is full. It takes 3 minutes to walk from the Piccadilly concourse to platforms 13/14!and there is a travelator, making it a separate station would be stupid.

    Seems you have very little understanding of how the railway works.

    Comment by Dutchtom | February 13, 2017 | Reply

  3. If the two former platforms at Oxford Rd were reinstated that would alleviate pressure on Piccadilly but still allow passengers to connect from Victoria to trains via Piccadilly

    Comment by A Maxwell | July 1, 2017 | Reply

    • There are a lot of possibilities to run things differently. Look at the changes in London being brought about by Thameslink, which has a similar layout to the lines through Picadilly and the Ordsall Chord.

      Comment by AnonW | July 1, 2017 | Reply

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