Re-opening of historic city centre rail station a step closer

St James station

Businesses in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool have welcomed proposals that could see the re-opening of a disused rail station.

St James train station lies in a deep cutting between Central and Brunswick stations. It was opened on March 1, 1874 and closed on January 1, 1917, and has lain derelict ever since.

However, a new Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Plan (CATP) has included the station re-opening on a list of potential projects for funding.

The cost of re-opening St James could reach £50m. Work would include two new platforms and lift access from street level to the station, as well as ticket offices.

But businesses and residents within the Baltic Triangle see four major benefits from a potential re-opening.

They say it radically improves accessibility to the area, makes it more attractive to those wanting to visit, stimulates inward investment, and is crucial to alleviating the strain on other transport hubs, such as Liverpool Central station.

As the Baltic Triangle area has expanded with the creation of digital businesses, bars and restaurants, calls to re-open the station have increased.

A spokesperson for the Baltic Triangle CIC (Community Interest Company) said: “This is a significant step forward for those that have worked so hard to lobby for the station’s re-opening.

“The prospect of having a Baltic Triangle Station is now a very real possibility and opens up so many pathways for the area’s evolution and the sustainability of its development.

“Although there is a long way to go, the findings of the CATP has brought structure and credibility to this project.”

Baltic Triangle area director, Mark Lawler, added: “This is fantastic news and a massive moment in the growth ambitions for the area.

“Baltic Triangle Area CIC has been lobbying for many years to see the re-opening of the old St James station which closed over 100 years ago.

“The news today that Steve Rotherham’s Office support our ambitions for the new Baltic Triangle Station is such an important step forward for the area.

“We realise this is a big-ticket item and it will take a few years to materialise, but we’re delighted to get Liverpool City Region support.

“We all know the reopening of the station will be a catalyst for huge investment into the area and will massively improve sustainable transport options for local businesses and residents alike.”

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram welcomed the CATP, and said: “The potential benefits of bringing St James station back in to use and the boost it could bring to the Baltic Triangle and the wider area have been recognised.

“That’s why it’s named in the new Combined Authority Transport Plan, as well as featuring in the long-standing Liverpool City Region long-term rail strategy.

“Work is ongoing on the potential of a number of proposed new stations, including St James, to fully understand how they can support passenger and economic growth across the city region.

“Understanding solutions to the capacity problems we have at Liverpool Central station is also a priority.”

He added: “The Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund, which forms part of the Strategic Investment Fund, is the means through which the Combined Authority now co-ordinates investment in sustainable transport schemes across the city.

“With an estimated build cost of at least £50m, the St James scheme would have to demonstrate that it meets the fund’s criteria, provides good value for money and is deliverable, to be considered alongside or ahead of other proposed schemes.”