The station opened as the original Liverpool terminus of Mersey Railway Tunnel in 1886. James Street Station together with Hamilton Square underground station in Birkenhead are the oldest deep level underground stations in the world, London underground stations were just below the street surface built via the cut and cover method. The stations were so deep they required lifts to access, this gave another world's first in having the first lift accessed stations. The lifts were hydraulically operated. In 1892 a tunnel was extended to Liverpool Central station changing James Street's status to a through station. By this time, there were trains from Liverpool branching from Hamilton Square station terminating at Birkenhead Park and Rock Ferry stations in Birkenhead. The line was electrified in 1903. Through trains to West Kirby and New Brighton commenced in 1938, when the former Wirral Railway routes were electrified. There were originally two platforms, either side of a twin-track tunnel.
In 1941, during the Liverpool Blitz, the Luftwaffe bombed the surface building of the station, and the famous James Street Tower was so damaged that it had to be demolished. A new surface building was built in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the station was rebuilt as part of the expansion of the Merseyrail network. A new single-track tunnel known as the Loop was constructed, from the Mersey Railway Tunnel via a new third platform at James Street, then Moorfields, Liverpool Lime Street and Liverpool Central, rejoining the Mersey Railway just to the east of James Street. This opened in 1977. A part of the original tunnel between Liverpool Central and James Street is used by the new Northern Line. The remaining part of that tunnel which is used by neither the Wirral Line nor Northern Lines was retained, to provide a connection between the two for moving empty electric trains between depots at Birkenhead North and Kirkdale. Of the original two platforms at James Street, only the westbound remains in regular use. Platform 2, the original Up platform, is kept in near-original condition, being used only when trains are prevented from using the loop itself. Until the mid-1990s James Street closed at 7pm; now the station remains open throughout the evening.
James Street station has three platforms, although only two see regular use. Platforms 2 and 3 are situated on either side of the original Mersey Railway tunnel, and platform 1 in the newer tunnel on the loop line. Only platforms 1 and 3 are in regular use for the loop line, Platform 3 by trains westbound to the Wirral and Platform 1 by trains eastbound towards Liverpool. Platform 2, which is situated on the empty stock line opposite platform 3, has not normally been used by passenger services since the opening of the loop line. This platform has a frieze artwork, on the wall. The junction at the western end of the station (where the loop leaves the original line in order to pass through platform 1) is known as Mann Island Junction. Occasionally, the loop line may close to allow for maintenance to occur (such as the engineering works that took place between April and May 2007 again in April/May 2009 and most recently in July & August 2013). On these occasions, platform 2 is brought back into use to allow trains arriving from the Wirral to terminate and reverse there back onto the westbound line (either directly or via platform 3). There are two entrances to the station. The main entrance on James Street itself has four lifts to reach the platforms from street level. It also has a small newsagents inside. The Water Street entrance uses a combination of staircases and a ramp over 150 yards long which goes from ground level to just above the platforms. The Water Street entrance is only in use during certain times of the day and is closed at weekends. It is open between 7am and 10am, then again from 3pm to 6pm.
James Street is fully accessible. The Ticket Office is step free via James Street only and platforms can be accessed via lifts, however some lifts have narrow openings of 800mm. There is an induction loop, help points and cash point. The station is staffed, during all opening hours, and has platform CCTV. There are toilets, a payphone, an ATM, booking office and live departure and arrival screens, for passenger information. The station doesn't have a car park. Though, there is a cycle rack for eight bicycles. Step-free access to the platforms, for wheelchairs and prams, is possible, via the lifts. Trains operate every five minutes (Monday-Saturday daytime) around the Liverpool city centre loop to Moorfields, Liverpool Lime Street and Liverpool Central. In the other direction, trains operate every five minutes to Hamilton Square, from where they continue every 15 minutes to each of New Brighton and West Kirby with six trains an hour to Hooton. From Hooton, trains continue every 15 minutes to Chester and every 30 minutes to Ellesmere Port. At other times, trains operate every 30 minutes to each of the four destinations, giving a service every 5–10 minutes to Hamilton Square. Bus Connection Timetable.
Local Taxis 0151 298 2980, 0151 708 7080
Connections: 26, 103, 130, 136, 137, C4, C5