Station transformation moves a step closer

The transformation of Manchester’s Victoria railway station into a bright, clean, modern facility fit for the 21st century, that people will want to use and visit, has taken a giant step towards becoming a reality.

Network Rail has awarded a contract to Hyder Consulting to cover the first three stages of a process that will make the station almost unrecognisable by 2014. Hyder has subsequently appointed BDP as architects to deliver the project.

Jo Kaye, Network Rail’s route director, said: “Manchester relies on rail and the go-ahead for this vital project underlines Network Rail’s commitment to improving Manchester Victoria. Awarding this contract is the confirmation that everyone wants – funds are secure and the work will happen.

“Over the next four years, the station will undergo a complete makeover that will make it a key point of entry to a part of the city that has undergone a renaissance in recent years.”

The project is being jointly funded by Network Rail ((£16m), Manchester City Council (£5m) and GMITA (£4m). Although the funding is £5m less than was previously available, Network Rail believes it can deliver a value for money project that will meet previous aspirations.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said: “The restoration of Victoria Station will contribute greatly to the continued regeneration of this area of the city, delivering both economic and environmental benefits.  The much needed transformation will bring the faded glory of the station into the 21st century and ensure that passengers have the modern facilities expected of one of the city’s key transport hubs.”

Councillor Ian Macdonald, chair of GMITA, said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to work with Network Rail and Manchester City Council to get to this stage, which will see the creation of a master plan for Manchester Victoria to transform it into a modern interchange befitting its heritage and importance.

“The investment allied to this is crucial, not least because of the increase in passengers that new Metrolink lines will bring, but also long overdue, so it is fantastic news that we can now, at long last, take this step towards providing a true landmark facility and gateway to the city for the thousands of passengers who already use it every day.

“I look forward to the final scheme being developed.”

Lee Wasnidge, area director, Northern Rail said: “The appointment of this contract is an important step towards the transformation of Manchester Victoria into a modern gateway to this vibrant city.”

The contract will define the output and scope of the project, and its ultimate aims. It will look at constraints and boundaries that may limit options, will work up all the options available and assess the most suitable to be developed and taken forward.

This work is expected to be completed during March next year.

The major piece of work to transform the look of the station will be a new roof, and Network Rail is considering using a roofing system called ETFE, similar to that at Piccadilly station. The roof totals just over 6,300 square metres and is big enough to house an Airbus A380. Using ETFE will mean the entire station will be flooded with natural light.

Other facilities considered include:-

  • A glazed screen between platforms and concourse to improve the concourse environment and provide protection from the weather (similar to Piccadilly station) and glazed station entrance doors;
  • Possible relocation of the ticket office and provision of a centrally located travel centre;
  • Work to protect the heritage features of the station such as the external façade and canopy, the war memorials, the dome roof in the café, and the station mosaics;
  • Potential for improved and additional retail facilities; and
  • Provision for step-free access to the arena, and additional Metrolink platforms, if required in the future

Network Rail will work closely with its funding partners and other organisations such as Northern Rail, English Heritage and the Railway Heritage Trust to complete the project by the end of 2014.

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