Nottingham Station nears completion
At the end of March, I took the walk from our office to Nottingham Station, full of excitement and anticipation ahead of what I was about to see. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to blog about the work on Nottingham Train Station over the past eight months, when a lot of the major work has taken place. I was a fairly regular user of the station before the changes, so I knew the layout and the feel of it inside out. Eight months on and I was about to experience what the new-look station would feel like to passengers using the site day in, day out.
I made sure I entered via Carrington Street, using the main entrance to the station, like any passenger would do in the future. Immediately, what hits you is the simplicity of the improvements, but the effect they have is immediate. With glass panels and sliding glass doors on every entrance, you can see right into the heart of the station. The brickwork on the exterior looks fresh after its treatment, and all the windows have had a lick of white paint to really freshen up the look and feel of the exterior. The old green iron gates that once stood in the archways have been lovingly restored and used alongside the glass. As a listed building, many of the original features have been restored and kept, but cleverly used alongside the new features. In the case of the archway leading to the new Southern Concourse, it’s been built completely from scratch, but it looks so in-keeping with the original arches, you can’t tell the difference between the 1904 brickwork, and the reclaimed brickwork for the new arch.
Once inside the main concourse, which many of you will remember used to be the old taxi rank, the open feel and sense of space hits you. It’s clean, airy and open, with natural light maximised to the full with the addition of a new glass roof and the glass panels used in all the entrances. It’s modern and reminiscent of St Pancras Station, which received a glamorous refurbishment itself in the last decade.
Live guitar music greeted me, setting a calming atmosphere, and I was shown around the site by Donna Adams from East Midlands Trains. It fills you with a great sense of pride and excitement to see the results of all the hard work in action. At this stage all that is left to complete is the brand new southern concourse, which is expected to be completed at the end of May/early June. The retail outlets are also waiting to be filled. Retailers ready to move in include the Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Costa Coffee and Morrisons; the first Morrisons to be present at a station in the country. These are expected to be occupied and open for business within the next six weeks. Once they are, you can expect the station to have the feel of a commuter hub. When speaking to Darren Field-Thomas the station manager, he told me that in the end, Nottingham Station will be a place where you can meet a loved one from a train, have a coffee and watch the world go by. It will be much more of a social environment; somewhere where people will want to spend time before or after a journey. It is easy to envisage this with the amount of space created.
I have to admit that the restoration of the roof in the original concourse is fantastic. It’s opened up the roof and gives the station a period feature that is a true spectacle when you glance upwards. From here you have access to the self service ticket machines, the brand new supermarket, the platforms and also the brand new, state-of-the art ticket office. Everything ties in brilliantly, offering passengers a quick and easy commute in a well laid out environment.
My visit on Monday opened my eyes to the finished product and to what Nottingham Station is and will eventually become to the area. I’ve been excited about this project throughout and being able to see the hard work come together was truly satisfying. For the guys at East Midlands Trains it must be even more satisfying. For commuters and passengers travelling through the station in the future, their experience will be an enjoyable one, and one that will add to the sense of pride that Nottingham is one of the leading stations in the country for its facilities and infrastructure. Nottingham has a station it can be proud of and a transport network which is now taking shape as one of the leading ones in the UK. If you have the opportunity to take a journey by train, or are simply walking through town, make a stop at Nottingham Station and see the results of the hard work for yourself.
I will be bringing you further updates later in 2014 when the new Southern Concourse opens and also later in the summer when the official opening takes place. Keep up to date with news and imagery by visiting our blog site or our Facebook and Twitter pages. Alternatively, visit the East Midlands Trains website for more updates on Nottingham Station.
If you want to re-visit any of my previous blogs to see the work as it progressed, then click on the links below.