Liverpool Road/Water Street, Manchester M60 9EA | Status at Sep ’18: MAJOR REFURB
Known as the ‘rat run’ tunnels, this labyrinth of underground passageways and rooms is formed from a Grade II-listed colonnaded railway viaduct (circa 1870) with some parts stretching into the cellars of the Bonded Warehouse (circa 1867). The viaduct itself is supported by a series of cast-iron columns on stone bases.
Today, there are remnants of more modern uses – notably, parts of the Granada Studios Tour, which closed in 1999. Since then, the tunnels have been used primarily for storage and filming but currently remain abandoned.
Some of the Victorian storage vaults beneath the viaduct, known as the Arches, were also used for the Granada Studios Tour as retail units, and have since been used for filming – notably, as the shops and bars of Coronation Street‘s Weatherfield Precinct. Arch 4 is connected to the Starlight Theatre above via stairs (sealed) and a lift.
Rails of the original railway track were visible, and still are, on the now-demolished Coronation Street set.
You can see the layout of the tunnels on the Hidden Manchester Map, and below.
Tunnel map base © OpenStreetMap contributors/tiles courtesy of Andy Allan. Info: openstreetmap.org/copyright. Full, more up-to-date map of the whole site here.
‘LA skyline’ stairs (top)
‘LA skyline’ stairs (bottom)
Stairs to tunnels
Bricked tunnel end
North tunnel section
Starlight Theatre stairs (top)
South tunnel section
Starlight Theatre stairs (bottom)
Arch 1 frontage
North tunnel section pipes
North tunnel section plant
Engineering rooms stairs
Engineering room (left)
South tunnel section plant
Engineering room (right)
Arch 1 posters
Bonded Warehouse connection
‘LA skyline’ stairs (demolition)