As a major and historical port and city to the north west of England, transport links to and from Liverpool are excellent. Inside Liverpool local bus services are supported by Merseyrail, which operates an urban railway network across and around the city. The national motorway network feeds directly into the outer suburbs of the city and there are direct rail links to many other major UK cities. Liverpool has its own airport and, of course, a sea port.
Getting to and from Liverpool:
The main railway station in Liverpool is Lime Street, which is in the heart of the city centre. The main train operator from Lime Street is Virgin trains who run direct services to other cities along the west coast, the West Midlands, London and Scotland. Another rail company using this station is Central Trains, who operate services to the Midlands and a cross-country service from Liverpool to Norwich, via Nottingham. Northern Trains also use the station; they mainly operate services to other towns and cities in the north west of England. The fastest service from Lime Street to Euston station in London is a mere 2 hours and 9 minutes, on a Virgin express train.
Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport was originally opened in 1930 and was for many years a small provincial one. In the 1990s it expanded and now offers regular flights to UK and European destinations, with occasional flights to Egypt, Canada and the USA. The main companies flying out of Liverpool John Lennon are the low-cost/bulk carriers like: EasyJet, Ryanair and Flybe. Most other flights are charters for holiday companies. The airport is to the south of the city in Speke and is most easily accessed off the M56 via Runcorn and Widnes.
The main coach station for Liverpool is Norton Street, which is north of the Lime Street railway station. National Express coaches and Megabus run services to and from London, with a typical journey time being between five and six hours. National express also offer services to many other UK towns and cities from this coach station.
Liverpool port these days is probably associated mainly with the importation of goods. However, it is still used as a passenger port for services to and from Ireland by P&O Ferries, which sails out of the Princes parade terminal. The Isle of Man Steam Packet also sails out of Liverpool from the Seaforth terminal. The port annually services around 750,000 passengers and both of the ferry services are RollOn-RollOff for passengers and freight. The city is currently hoping to re-introduce a docking facility for ocean going liners at the Pier Head by 2008.
Travel in and around Liverpool:
Merseyrail is Liverpool’s’ urban railway, which also operates as a commuter service throughout Merseyside. The network itself is comprehensive and works very well and for considerable distances it runs underground. If, for example, you arrived at Lime Street station from another city you descend underground to the Merseyrail platforms and would then be well out of the city centre before re-appearing into daylight. However, the trains are railway trains as you might find on any commuter route anywhere in the country, so trying to compare it to a true underground/metro system does not hold up. There are two main routes on the network. Northern - which has branches that go as far as Southport and Ormskirk to the north, or out to Hunts Cross which is south of the city. Wirral – this route goes under the River Mersey, through the Mersey rail Tunnel, heading for Birkenhead, you can then branch off to any of: Chester, Ellesmere Port, New Brighton and West Kirkby. Merseyrail also operates commuter services to St Helens, Wigan, Warrington and Manchester.
The main bus operator in Liverpool is Merseytravel. The two main bus stations in the city centre are on Paradise Street, to the south west of the main shopping area and Queen Square, which is at the northern end of the main shopping area near to Lime Street railway station.
Driving around Liverpool by car is the same as in any major city; at rush-hour it can become very congested. However, once in the city, there are plenty of car parks that are easy to locate and use. If travelling from the south to a suburb in the north of the city you would be well advised to take the longer route north on the M57 towards Aintree and then head east back in to the city on one of the ‘A’ class roads. Many workers in Liverpool actually live across the River Mersey in the Wirral. The most direct route into the city is by using one of the three tunnels under the Mersey. As well as the rail tunnel there are two road tunnels; Queensway opened in 1934 and The Mersey Tunnel opened in 1971, both of the road tunnels operate a toll system. Demand for using the tunnels is not diminishing and so discussions are underway as to whether or not to build a third tunnel. Another way of getting across the Mersey from the Wirral into Liverpool is, of course, to use the famous Ferry across the Mersey.
Another way to get around the city is to use a taxi. The city operates Hackney Cabs (or black taxis) which can be hailed from the street or from one of the many Hackney Cab taxi ranks around the city.