The current control period (CP5 – 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019) has been a busy time for station development, with both new stations coming online and older ones being redeveloped. On the new stations front, Ilkeston in Derbyshire (issue 150, April 2017) opened on Sunday 2 April. It was one of five stations given the go-ahead as part of the New Stations Fund. This £20 million initiative was launched in 2013 to give local communities improved access to rail services in England and Wales.

The funding was distributed through a competition, giving all promoters of new stations meeting the conditions an equal opportunity of securing a funding contribution. In all cases, additional funds came from local councils and other interested stakeholders.

The first competition period ran from 24 January 2013 to 25 February 2013. A cross-industry awards panel met to consider all applications received by the closing date and selected five projects to be taken forward. In addition to Ilkeston, these were:

  • Pye Corner, on the line from Cardiff to Ebbw Vale in South Wales (opened 14 December 2014);
  • Newcourt, on the Avocet line connecting Exeter with Exmouth (opened 4 June 2015);
  • Lea Bridge, on the Lea Valley lines between Stratford and Tottenham Hale, London (opened 16 May 2016);
  • Kenilworth, on the Coventry to Leamington line in Warwickshire (due to open February 2018).
Ilkeston station.

Ilkeston station.

Also in CP5

Of course, other station developments took place as well. Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park stations, on the Coventry-Nuneaton line, both opened on 18 January 2016 and were partly funded by the Department for Transport and Warwickshire County Council.

Apperley Bridge, on the Airdale line between Leeds and Shipley in West Yorkshire, opened on 13 December 2015 as a Park and Ride station, alongside the A658, while Kirkstall Forge, on the same line, opened on 19 June 2016.

A third West Yorkshire station, Low Moor on the Calder Valley line between Bradford and Halifax, opened on 2 April 2017.

And that’s still not all. Forres station, to the east of Inverness on the line to Aberdeen, opened on 20 October 2017 having been relocated.

Edinburgh Gateway opened on 11 December 2016, just north of South Gyle station, connecting the main line to the Forth Bridge with Edinburgh Trams’ service to the airport.

Cranbrook, on the West of England Main Line between Whimple and Pinhoe in Devon, opened on the same day as Apperley Bridge – 13 December 2015. Oxford Parkway was opened by the Prime Minister on 26 October 2015 as part of the Chiltern line improvements between Oxford and London Marylebone, although the first trains had actually called the day before.

The reopening of the Borders railway, on 6 September 2015, brought with it new stations at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels, and Tweedbank.

In Wales, north of Newport, the railway was extended from its existing terminus at Ebbw Vale Parkway to the new Ebbw Vale Town, which opened on 17 May 2015.

Cambridge North, actually at Chesterton, close to the Cambridge Science Park, opened on 21 May 2017. It is on the Fen line, from Cambridge to King’s Lynn, and has three platforms and space for 450 cars and 1,000 bicycles.

And finally James Cook University Hospital got its own railway station, on the Esk Valley Line south east of Middlesborough, on 18 May 2014.

A CGI of the upgraded Liverpool Lime Street station.

A CGI of the upgraded Liverpool Lime Street station.

Larger stations

While all of the above have been fairly modest, low cost new stations, some of the largest stations on the network have been undergoing major refurbishment.

London Bridge is the obvious one. A layout of nine terminus and six through platforms has been completely changed over to six terminus and nine through platforms. Add to this a brand new concourse and new connections with London Underground and it almost becomes a complete new station. It has been open throughout and will be complete in the Spring.

Liverpool Lime Street reopened on 23 October 2017 after 23 days of work during which two new platforms (7 and 8) were built and others lengthened. Work will continue until 2019.

Work also continues at London Waterloo, where the five former-international platforms (20-24) are being shortened and brought back into use for normal domestic services. At the same time, Platforms 1 to 4 are being extended to accommodate 10-car trains. The project should be complete by December 2018.

Meanwhile, platforms at Ascot, Bracknell, Camberley, Chertsey, Egham, Feltham, Martins Heron, Sunningdale, Virginia Water and Wokingham are also being extended for 10-car trains.

The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street was completed in 2015. The new concourse is three times larger and is enclosed by a giant atrium, allowing natural light throughout the station. The redevelopment has transformed the experience for passengers, improving links to and through the city centre and is a catalyst for growth for the local area’s economy.

Reading station was redeveloped to both remove a bottleneck and to prepare for the electrification of the Great Western main line and the extra traffic to be generated by Crossrail. Five new platforms were built along with a new footbridge, a new entrance, and track improvements including a new flyover to the west of the station. It was opened by HM the Queen on 17 July 2014.

Platform 12 at Edinburgh Waverley is being extended as part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). At the same time, Platforms 5 and 6, for the new Intercity Express Programme trains, the Virgin Azuma Class 800/801 trains, are being created from the old Motorail bay platforms.

Also as part of EGIP, platforms are being extended at Croy, Falkirk High, Polmont, and Linlithgow.

The old station roof at Manchester Victoria was completely removed and replaced with a £17 million modern ETFE ‘plastic’ roof, using material similar to that used at New Street. The upgrade was completed in August 2015.

An artist's impression of Maghull North station.

An artist’s impression of Maghull North station.

Still to come

Of course, there is still over a year of CP5 to go yet. And that will bring still more stations.

In addition to Kenilworth, mentioned above, Maghull North will bring a new station to Merseyside, serving Moss Side and Ashworth Hospital. It’s due to open in May 2018.

The new Sheffield tram-train will start operating over the summer, and that brings with it Parkgate station in Rotherham, a single-platform terminus at the end of a short extension from Rotherham Central.

Worcestershire Parkway is being developed at the junction of the Cotswold and Cross Country lines near Norton, Worcestershire. Although plans for this station have existed since 2007, funding has been a problem. It failed to be chosen for the New Stations Fund but has since received other government funding through the local enterprise partnership. Buckingham Group was awarded a design and build contract and opening is anticipated over the winter of 2018/19.

Then there is Crossrail. Set to open eastwards from Paddington in December 2018, the project brings new or heavily modified stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House and Abbey Wood.

Later, when Crossrail services to the west commence in December 2019, a new station building and facilities will come online at Ealing Broadway, Hayes and Harlington, Pudding Mill Lane, Southall, West Drayton and West Ealing.

This is what Warrington West station could look like.

This is what Warrington West station could look like.

New Stations Fund 2

The second New Stations Fund was announced by Rail Minister Paul Maynard last July. Five more stations were selected to receive DfT funding. These will be:

  • Horden Peterlee, on the Durham Coast line between Seaham and Hartlepool in County Durham, will deliver improved access to employment opportunities to the area, which has low levels of car ownership, making it easy for people to get around. A two-platform station, it will receive £4.4 million of DfT funding towards a scheme worth £10.55 million and should open in March 2020.
  • Warrington West in Cheshire will have two platforms and a 268-space car park. Key benefits include reducing congestion on the M62 motorway and supporting the Chapelford Urban Village housing development. Located west of central Warrington on the existing southern Liverpool to Manchester Line route between Sankey and Warrington Central stations, this project will receive £4.23 million towards a total project cost of £17.2 million.
  • Reading Green Park, south of Southcote Junction on the Reading to Basingstoke line, is sponsored by Reading Borough Council and has the potential to unlock 7,500 new jobs and 1,500 homes, serving an area currently only accessible by road. It will have two platforms and will receive £2.3 million towards a total project cost of £16.5 million.
  • Bow Street, on the Cambrian line in Ceredigion, Wales, was opened in 1876 and closed in 1965. It is now scheduled to be reopened in March 2020, along with a car park for 110 vehicles, acting as a park and ride site for Aberystwyth and Borth stations and helping reduce traffic congestion in Aberystwyth. This scheme will receive £3.945 million towards a total project cost of £6.76 million.
  • Portway Parkway is planned for the Severn Beach line in Avonmouth, Bristol and will serve the existing Portway park and ride site. Part of the MetroWest scheme, it will receive £1.672 million towards a total project cost of £2.23 million.

Also planned for CP6 Marsh Barton lies on the Riviera line between Exeter St Thomas and Starcross stations. Devon County Council is backing this one, which is to be built by Graham Construction. Failing to secure DfT funding through the New Stations Fund – the application was unsuccessful – has thrown plans into some doubt but Devon County Council is keen to see construction proceed.

As part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme, work to demolish buildings in front of Glasgow Queen Street station started in August. This was the first step in the station’s transformation that will see its frontage extended onto George Square and platforms lengthened to accommodate eight-car trains at the end of 2019, with the station work completed in 2020.

Robroyston is planned to be a park and ride station alongside a new housing development in northeast Glasgow. The Scottish government is funding 50 per cent of the cost and the new station is expected to open at the end of 2019.

Barking Riverside is planned as part of the extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line, which forms part of the London Overground network. Approval for the extension, and for Barking Riverside station, was granted in August 2017. Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2018 and the line should go into service late in 2021.

Plans for the extension to Barking Riverside also included a simple island-platform station at Renwick Road. The government approval for the extension granted permission for a stop at Renwick Road “if needed”.

Also in London, the Northern line extension to Battersea, with tube services expected to commence in 2020, will feature new stations at Nine Elms and at Battersea Power Station.

In South Shields, the current Tyne and Wear Metro station, which is itself situated about 200 metres from the site of the former British Rail station which it replaced, is itself being replaced by a new interchange a short distance away. Work will start early this year.

Barnet Council has plans to construct Brent Cross West station on the Midland main line section of the Thameslink route, to be open by 2022. This will form part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme, one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe, which will see the comprehensive regeneration of 151 hectares to create a sustainable new town centre for Barnet and North London, including substantial residential and commercial uses.

Cardiff Parkway is being privately funded and will be located between Cardiff Central and Newport stations to serve a new business park. It is anticipated to open in February 2020. The new station has already been factored into the South Wales Metro map, along with a further stop at Newport Road.

Okehampton Parkway station in Devon is under construction following an announcement by Secretary of State Chris Grayling of plans to reintroduce a trial rail service between Okehampton and Exeter by the end of 2018.

At Coventry, Network Rail is asset protecting the site of an £82 million new station. This will include a new platform for Coventry to Nuneaton services, a new multi-storey car park for 644 cars and an additional footbridge.

Wolverhampton station will be demolished and rebuilt as part of the £132 million interchange project. Galliford Try has been named as the preferred contractor for the £40 million station element and the transformation should be completed during 2020.

Footbridges and shops

So many stations have been built, are being built, are planned or even wished for, that it is difficult to keep up. There may well be a few that have been omitted, but it must be clear that stations are a vibrant part of the UK’s busy railway. In addition to new build and major redevelopments, many stations are receiving new footbridges, entrances and facilities as part of the Access for All scheme. Some 186 stations have already been upgraded, six more are currently underway, and there are plans for a further 63 over the next three years. And then there is retail. Shoppers, and not just passengers, continue to visit stations for some ‘retail therapy’ in ever-increasing numbers. Between July and September 2017, 63 million retail customers visited station retail outlets around Britain, with sales growth in Birmingham (+11.1 per cent) featuring prominently, alongside Manchester (+5.2 per cent) and Edinburgh Waverley (+6.8 per cent). So interest in stations is up across the board. But, with 2,560 mainline stations in Great Britain, not including Transport for London, tram systems and some metros, there is a lot more still to do.

This article was written by Nigel Wordsworth. 

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