Hosted by Network Rail, a visit to Waverley Station was well attended with 40 members and guests participating. The event began with a presentation to Richard Yip, one of the two scholarship winners, by the Treasurer, Stewart Dick. (For further details click here.) Both Richard and Graham James, the other scholarship winner, also received complimentary rail passed donated by ScotRail, these being presented by John Yellowlees.
After this the party was split and half of the members were taken on a tour of the station facilities whilst the others were given a presentation on the proposals for the redevelopment of the station, before undertaking the tour. The first group then received the presentation.
David Peers, Network Rail's Major Stations Asset Manager, outlined the background to the need to redevelop Waverley station, pointing out that the last rebuilding had been undertaken in 1903 and that it was set in a World Heritage Site. The last major work has been to reroof the station. However, the station needs to upgraded to improve the passenger environment and improve train capacity.
Members being shown round the signalling centre at Waverley Station.
© John G. Fender 2011
The proposed redevelopment will mean that the station will meet expected demand for the next 100 years or so. The redevelopment will include track remodelling, state of the art station facilities and some 600,000 square feet of retail space. However, as the station is a listed building, there are a number of sensitivities that must be addressed including a restriction on the height of any development.
The original Act of Parliament authorising construction of the station stipulated a maximum height of 42 feet above the rail level and new legislation has been secured allowing a slight increase in this. Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the planned extension of the "Green Valley" and the impact the redevelopment of the station will have on the Old and New Towns.
Network Rail has been working closely with the Scottish Executive and the Strategic Rail authority on the proposals and a Steering Group has been set up to oversee the process. A number of options have been considered and the redevelopment plans are due to be finalised shortly. One part of the redevelopment site that is due to start this year is the construction of new offices for Edinburgh City Council on the part of the site currently occupied by the car park. A new car park will be incorporated in the development.
The members were given a guided tour of the Signalling Centre which was opened in 1979, and continues to control passenger and freight movements across the Lothians and on the East Coast Main Line over the hundred miles from the English Border to Cupar in North Fife. Network Rail are now investing over £30 million in a renewal of the wiring due for completion next year.
Also visited was "The Bike Station", housed in a basement below the Travel Centre. This is a charity and community project that repairs and refurbishes donated bicycles - in the seven months since opening in October 2002, it had found new homes for 201 bikes and had recycled over 340 kg of scrap metal and 20 kg of aluminium from unusable bike parts.
The Scottish Region Would like to thank Juliet Donnachie, Network Rail's Station Manager for her hospitality, provision of the buffet, and visits to the Signalling Centre and Bike Station; David Peers of Network Rail for his presentation, John Yellowlees for facilitating the visit and to the station guides who escorted the members around the station.
Report by John Fender.
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