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Spots|Manchester: Oxford Road Station

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Be it by bike, bus, tram, or airplane, it is clear to see that Manchester is a city on a ceaseless endeavour to make commuting as efficient and effective as possible. However, arguably the most popular medium of transport (for residents and visitors alike) is the train. Manchester rail network is comprised of four main train stations dotted around the centre, and in this article, we will be exploring the second biggest the city has to offer – Oxford Road station.

This station is situated a stone’s throw from the university of campus just off Oxford Road and sits atop a viaduct. The structure, with tracks resting at an elevation on viaducts over Oxford Road, hosts a total of 5 platforms heading eastbound and westbound.

History

The station opened in 1849 and with its then only two platforms, served as a transport link for the Southern part of the city centre. This station, however, is not the one you may know and love today, as the station saw a complete overhaul in 1958.

The sweeping laminate timber building that acts as the entrance today was designed by architect Leslie Martin. The architect, seeking to modernise train station design by using prefabricated structures, designed the now listed building with its iconic timber shell roof, and lightweight steel structure.

The resulting station is the only large-scale train station to be constructed out of prefabricated material, and has proved the durability of such building methods, having stood the test of time with only minor improvements over the years.

One prevailing feature of the platform is it’s use by both passenger and cargo trains. At first the combination caused a number of scheduling and punctuality issues; however, this issue was later amended and to this day Oxford Road sees trains towing vast numbers of containers of all shapes and sizes barrelling through the station.

Naming the Station

Unlike other stations in Manchester, which have been subject to numerous name changes, Oxford Road has endured until present day. This is due to the literal nature of the name, as the station leads directly onto the ever busy and ever popular Oxford Road.

The Future of the Station

It seems the future of the station is in good hands, and the station is set to expand (with designs being drafted as of 2022). This extension is made possible thanks to the Northern Hub scheme, which aims to invigorate transport in the north of England.

The extension will see no new platforms, however the station will be lengthened to accommodate longer trains now in circulation, as well as expanding the viaduct it rests on, and installing a new footbridge and canopy in the aim to increase max capacity, station accessibility, and overall efficiency.

This update to the station has been prompted by issues relating to congestion at the station, with the main issue being the need for an expansion of the Oxford Road corridor that is non-obtrusive, allowing trains to run while construction is taking place. While as of writing a solution seems to have been formulated, disputes are ongoing concerning the razing of little Ireland to accommodate the expansions.

Now take a look at my other SPOTS|Manchester posts on Victoria Station and Piccadilly Station

Photo by Tak-Kei Wong on Unsplash

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