Nottingham Station Refurbishment: Week 3 progress
As many of you are aware, Nottingham Station is undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment. The end result will see Nottingham become the central hub of rail travel in the region with more platforms as well as extensions to its current platforms, and a new state of the art signal system. In terms of the aesthetics, modernisation of the existing interior and exterior will make way for new cafe’s and shops plus a clean look and feel to a building with plenty of history.
I paid a visit to the Station on Thursday 8th August to see for myself how the work is progressing and to gain a perspective on what the end result will offer Nottingham commuters. Upon arrival, it was clear to see that the staff at the station are putting a real emphasis on maintaining a positive atmosphere around the site, with live entertainment on what is now named ‘The Strip’. Musicians are given the chance to perform on a mini stage set up on Station Street to entertain passengers waiting for replacement buses. The Station manager, Darren Field-Thomas, also informed me that this week they will be handing out cricket ball style macaroons to passengers to maintain the positive mood. There was a real vibe when I arrived, something that is normally hard to create on building sites. I was even treated to watch a coach driver participating in a dance routine to entertain passers-by (not an everyday occurrence!).
Darren provided me with a full guided tour of the station, working our way from one end to the other, taking in the main entrance and then each individual platform. The vast scale of the work is what strikes you first. The station will eventually be linked up to the new and existing tram lines running to Hucknall, Chilwell and Clifton, so to walk down platform 1 and see above you the new bridge that will carry the tram, engrosses you in the notion that this work is not just upgrading the station, it is creating a transport hub for the city and the county. New footbridges have been built to link the multi-story car park with the station and the tram, with three lifts included to provide disabled access to the station.
Each platform has received new drainage systems, something which generally goes un-noticed to passengers but is a massive project in terms of modernising the station and making it more efficient. The train lines themselves have been completely re-laid, to make way for the state of the art signal system being implemented. All signals will be operated from one central hub named the Derby ROC, one of 12 centres in the UK controlling the entire UK network. This will subsequently reduce delays, making for a more efficient rail network.
New platforms have been constructed, with modern canopies overhead. Darren informed me that when the platforms are constructed, the base comes in sections, pre-built and lifted into place with cranes. What an impressive feat. The new platforms were an impressive sight, making the expanse of Nottingham Station seem immense. The end result of the expansion of the platforms as well as the addition of new ones means Nottingham can accommodate more carriages on trains, therefore providing the opportunity for more passengers to travel.
With all the improvements and modern additions, I was pleased to see that the fundamentals of the station have remained the same. Existing derelict buildings are being re-furbished in order to maintain the original charm of the site. One example that really shows the emphasis put upon modernising and maintaining original features is the refurbishment of the iron stair cases as you can see in the image adjacent. Each one has been given a new lick of paint and fitted with new steps. These are more health and safety conscious in their construction. There is also a one-way system in place to improve the flow of footfall. However, the original stair case iron-work remains and with the paint job, makes for a beautiful feature. All the iron work within the platform canopies is being re-painted as well, culminating in a fresh feel to the stations historic features.
A little known fact about the work is that construction on the site is continuous 24 hours a day. One team comes in for the day shift, then another takes over at night and works under floodlights. Plenty of hard graft is going into this renovation and a lot of the work is relatively unknown to many people.
Nottingham Station’s face lift is truly exciting, not just for people living in Nottingham, but also for those visiting the city. We will have a transport hub worthy of any major city, something most cities in the country will envy. A state of the art train network, linked up to a state of the art tram network and a well established bus network only a stone throw away. Nottingham is quickly transforming its image into one of a modern, cosmopolitan city we can all be proud of and I for one can’t wait to see the end results.
To keep up to date with what’s happening in Nottingham throughout the station closure, visit our what’s on page.