The station is located a short distance south of the Runcorn Railway Bridge over the River Mersey on a section of line opened by the London and North Western Railway to create a more direct route between Liverpool and Crewe. The station opened on 1 April 1869.
The station has a shop and snack bar in the ticket hall. Lifts are available (integrated into the footbridge) to allow passengers to cross between the platforms. A car park (charges apply) and taxi rank are also available, and bus stops for services to other parts of Runcorn and also to Widnes.
For customers travelling with first class tickets and passes, a designated first class lounge is provided, along with standard waiting shelters. There are customer help points, digital information screens and automated train announcements available to give train running information.
The station normally has a staffed ticket office (open daily from start of service until 19:30). In addition, self-service ticket vending machines are available, allowing passengers to purchase tickets or collect pre-booked tickets (e.g. through a train operator's website or telesales centre).
There is an hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston operated by Virgin Trains, and two services per hour between Liverpool, Crewe and Birmingham New Street operated by West Midlands Trains under the London Northwestern brand. Services are less frequent in the evenings and on Sundays.