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South Parkway is top of the stops

Station sets 'gold standard for transport interchanges' - oh yeah!

Published on September 25th 2014.

South Parkway is top of the stops

LIVERPOOL South Parkway – a forced marriage between Garston and Allerton railway stations – has finally won national recognition, six years after the two became one.

It has won a top prize at the National Rail Awards in London. Judges glowingly praised it, saying it had “established a new gold standard for transport interchanges”.

In the pre-nuptial years of engagement, before SLP finally opened, there was talk of a new era for rail in Liverpool. There were whispers of the London trains terminating here, rather than Lime Street, enabling passengers to drag themselves up the mountainous stairs, across a cavernous tiled-floored concourse, down more stairs, to catch a Merseyrail train to town.

That idea, wisely rejected by the train operators, would have been akin to being chucked off the inter-city at Milton Keynes and forced to board a cattle train for the rest of the journey to Euston.


Proud Merseyrail peopleProud Merseyrail people

Even now, SLP is branded as the rail stop for Liverpool John Lennon Airport, a mere helicopter flight from Horrocks Avenue to Oglet.  


People who haul their luggage off the train at SLP and (eventually) catch a bus to JLA only do it the once.  

SLP is living proof  that we needed, many years ago, a direct train link to Speke Airport. But knowing the airport’s owners, Peel, they’d slap a hefty fine on the train companies for having the nerve to stop outside.

It has been branded a white elephant, yet SLP has become an acceptable and agreeable landmark and a useful transport interchange. Arrive too late during the commuter rush and the free car park will be full. Early-bird city centre bound workers save money by parking here and catching a train to Lime Street or Central. And it is a great way to connect to Manchester or Birmingham if you live north of Moorfields.

SLP won the Medium Sized Station category and is described in the award’s citation as “a quality public transport hub, a train and bus interchange, a few kilometres from the city centre and a gateway for the wider region and Europe”. 

Presumably the reference to Europe relates to the airport, a not inconsiderable distance away door-to-door. If only a spat between certain parties hadn’t taken place people could be whizzing their way to the airport by tram.

Groundbreaking station where Ringo lost his head 


(Click here to add text)

Liverpool South Parkway opened in 2006 and was at the time a ground-breaking, innovative arrangement, it says here. It is run by Merseyrail, but was sponsored, funded and designed by Merseytravel, who remain its owners.


The station hit the national and international headlines in 2008, shortly after it opened, when a topiary sculpture of the Beatles outside was vandalised. More specifically Ringo Starr was "beheaded". The act was thought to have been sparked by disparaging comments he made about Liverpool on a TV chat show.

The judges commented: ‘It is six years since Liverpool South Parkway opened and it has more than held its status as a model transport interchange between train, bus and airport. The station is cleaned and maintained to exceptionally high standards, while staff are posted at strategic places to help passengers to their destinations. Liverpool South Parkway has established a new gold standard for transport interchanges.’

Maarten Spaargaren, managing director of Merseyrail, said: ‘It’s fantastic to be recognised for this eco-friendly, futuristic station, which boasts stunning designand provides an extremely pleasant environment for our customers.’

Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel, added: ‘This award is further recognition of the importance of Liverpool South Parkway as a key station for the local community and a major asset to Merseyside, providing vital links to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.’

Merseyrail was also highly commended in the operator of the year category.

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John BradleySeptember 25th 2014.

Merseytravel 30 year plan did mention a link to LJL from LSP suitable for Merseyrail trains, seems a bit overkill to me, TrainTram would be cheaper and do the job. I drew up a map of what the proposed system would look like here. peterirate.blogspot.com/…/the-train-to-future.html… The Plan envisages a junction just after LSP on the Central to Hunts cross going of to LJL then running back to somehwere towards Ditton, it would have some advantages like getting a Central to RUncord link but so would the plan to use the Wapping Tunnel. then correct my self about Norwich here peterirate.blogspot.com/…/liverpool-to-norwich-via-1980s.html…

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 25th 2014.

You truly are the liv conf version of cliff clavin from cheers bar, any other little known facts?

Paul GrantSeptember 25th 2014.

What I love about SLP is that, if The Northern Line is ever running late (Ha Ha) then the trains DO NOT STOP there, leaving lots of confused foreign folk and their suitcases stranded at Hunts Cross. Tis a Joke of a 'Major transport hub'!!

Ordinary housewife in WaterlooSeptember 25th 2014.

My favourite thing about Merseytravel and John Lennon Airport is if you get off a plane in this country after 5pm, there is nowhere to buy a Saveaway. This means that a family of four has to pay £2.20 EACH to get to South Parkway on the Arriva 80 bus and then they all have to pay again to go to wherever on the Northern Line. It really is much cheaper to call a cab.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 25th 2014.

Having just returned from a family hol in some far flung place, costing thousands, does £8-80 really matter?!

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2014.

well yes if a taxi is as cheap because then people wont bother with the bus and train.

Speke EasyOctober 2nd 2014.

Not all family holidays cost thousands and if it is a family with children then they've a lot more important things to worry about than keeping enough Sterling handy to pay bus fares upon their return. We've all heard the old horror stories of taxi drivers giving foreign tourists with not much English handfuls of change in worthless obsolete foreign currency!

Paul WardSeptember 25th 2014.

A pity it's a ghost station outside rush hours. Especially a pity if you try to order a cab from one of the companies whose numbers are displayed in the station.

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2014.

I use it a lot, you can get a bus to most of south Liverpool from there and save the time spent getting into limestreet, through the crowds and the walk to the bustops down by st johns. Parkway is hands down a better option for me.

SaladDazeSeptember 25th 2014.

Oh for an integrated publicly-owned transport system. Instead Peel and Branson and co are handed squillions from the public purse so that they can make squillions from the.... err....

Cath CheenSeptember 28th 2014.

It is just not good enough to have a train station calling itself an airport link when you have to get off the train and wait for a bus. What must people think?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 28th 2014.

Did you have your hands on your hips and stamp the floor when you said those words?

RobertSeptember 29th 2014.

Absolute overkill of a station, that thanks to its fanciful technology which barely works (underfloor heating / solar glass), plus expensive recycled materials, a mere £38m was spent. Surely it should win an award for the most pounds spent per passenger?

The man on the garston omnibusOctober 1st 2014.

Liverpool used to have a proper ‘transport hub’ in a useful and convenient place where people actually went - the Pier Head. Buses and local trains met the ferries there. Closing it down has turned the Pier Head into a windswept no-mans-land ten months of the year and most of the ferry services have closed down. Rather than put a ‘transport hub’ out in remote Allerton Station it would have made more sense to build it (if not at the Pier Head) at Lime street, where local and national trains could meet the buses; there was even an indoor bus station – before it was closed down and sold off to become an unsurfaced car park! What a city! Only in Liverpool as everybody says.

1 Response: Reply To This...
mickeydrippinOctober 1st 2014.

Due to cheap motoring in the 1960s and 70s, many people bought cars, which they could drive to their places of work in Liverpool. The Queensway Tunnel became congested and so the second tunnel was opened. Commuters deserted the ferries and, as a result, vessels were sold and sailings reduced. Hence, there was no further need for a major bus station at the Pier Head. With regard to the "indoor" bus station, do you mean that on Skelhorne Street, which was owned and operated by the now-defunct Ribble Bus Co?

where have they all gone?October 1st 2014.

Merseyrail has closed Hamilton Square Station for SIX MONTHS for refurbishment. Those who have to join the end of a queue going right out of the door into the street at Birkenhead Park Station are wondering ‘what has happened to the staff no longer called upon to work at Hamilton Square?’ Despite having no ticket machine to ease the rush-hour queues (busier now that Hamilton Square is closed) Birkenhead Park has a one-man ticket office that has to close when the ticket clerk is called to assist a wheelchair-user board or disembark from a train. So where are all those staff? Why aren't they relieving station bottlenecks elsewhere?

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