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Manchester Victoria station

Manchester Victoria railway station is the second of Manchester's mainline railway stations, now being much less important than Manchester Piccadilly station. It is located to the north of the city centre on Hunts Bank, virtually adjacent to Manchester Cathedral. Originally it was a small single storey single platform building designed by George Stephenson and completed in 1844 to serve the Manchester and Leeds Railway. By this time there were six railways connecting Manchester to the cities of London, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bury and Bolton. Victoria Station came to dominate the Long Millgate area and was one of the biggest passenger stations in Britain. It was enlarged by William Dawes, who is responsible for most of the remaining facade, in 1909.

The present Edwardian building has a 160 yard facade, which still carries an iron and glass canopy bearing the names of the original destinations which it served, and a tile map depicting the routes of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway which operated from the station until 1923. These canopies served as covered waiting porch for taxi cabs until they were severely damaged in the 15 June 1996 IRA bomb blast - they have now been completely restored to their former glory. The cast iron train sheds behind the facade run back for some 700 yards. Initially the station was approached by a wooden footbridge over the River Irk which has subsequently disappeared beneath culverting alongside the Cathedral, where it makes its way un-noticed into the River Irwell.

Nowadays, largely serving destinations north and east of Manchester and some trains to Liverpool, it is the main terminus for the adjacent Manchester Evening News Arena, which was effectively joined onto the original station between 1992 and 1996 by means of a "raft" above the through rail platforms - the principal access to the MEN Arena is via stairs from the main station concourse. The line from Bury was converted to light rail operation in the early 1990s when the Metrolink tram system was created, and the trams switch to on-street running once they emerge from the side wall of Victoria Station. Current plans for Phase 3 of Metrolink involve the conversion of the rail routes from Victoria to Oldham and Rochdale to light rail.