Exciting plans to transform Newcastle Central station into an impressive new gateway to the city and the wider North East region are unveiled today by station and train operator East Coast.
The £8.6 million project will provide a stunning new facility for thousands of passengers, and will enhance the historic original Victorian station design. The new-look station will provide a welcoming first impression for visitors to the city, and will be a key part of wider regeneration in the surrounding area of Newcastle city centre.
Its centrepiece will be the pedestrianisation and glazing of the station’s front portico, to create a dramatic new public and retail space.
East Coast, which manages Newcastle Central station, today unveils plans for the new-look building. The project is in partnership with Network Rail, the rail infrastructure provider which owns the station building.
Station users are being invited to view the plans, including artist’s impressions, at an exhibition at the station between 3.30pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday (12 and 13 March).
The improvements for station users include:
• A new, pedestrianised public and retail space in the front portico, with glazing in the arches to enclose the space and provide weather protection
• A doubling of the retail space to offer exciting new retail and leisure choices – similar to those now available at the refurbished London King’s Cross
• Improved passenger facilities including a new travel centre, better toilet facilities and clearer signage
• The amount of covered cycle storage space will more than double, compared with existing facilities
• A simpler layout that will give new prominence to the original building design and improve sightlines across the station's main concourse.
The architectural heritage of the station is at the heart of the new design. The station’s simplified layout will open up sightlines towards the Castle Keep, whilst showcasing the distinctive curvature of the arched roof.
Taxis will be available at a new rank directly to the east of the portico. Newcastle City Council and business improvement district company NE1 are working on a complementary project which aims to improve access to this area of the city centre.
The station improvement work is due to begin in May, and is expected to be completed in April next year. The station will operate as normal throughout the works.
The project is being funded by the Department for Transport’s Station Commercial Project Facility Fund. East Coast is working with rail infrastructure provider Network Rail to deliver the improvements. A Newcastle-based team from Ryder Architecture has designed the improvements to the station building, while works will be carried out by Miller Construction.
East Coast Stations and Property Director Tim Hedley-Jones said: “Newcastle Central station is a key part of the history and future of both the city and the wider North East region. The improvements will accentuate the important heritage of the Grade One listed building, one of only six such stations in the UK, and act as a stunning new gateway to the city for visitors.
"We believe the project will play a key role in the regeneration of the city centre and help to demonstrate that Newcastle and the North East are very much open for business.”
Network Rail Route Managing Director Phil Verster said: “Newcastle station is an incredibly busy and important transport hub for the North East. These improvements will help passengers to get the best from the listed building. Significantly, the finished station will also give a better first impression to visitors to the city.
“We are working closely with the council and local business leaders to make sure the plans complement the city scheme to improve the area outside the station.”
The Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Nick Forbes, said: “It is important that visitors to Newcastle get an immediate impression of the confidence and ambition we have as a city and a world class destination for business and tourism. The transformation of Central Station will create an instantly memorable experience for visitors and a 21st Century transport hub worthy of one of Europe’s great cities.”
The development at Newcastle Central station follows the successful work by Network Rail to redevelop London King’s Cross, the other historic Grade One listed location on the East Coast Main Line. The new retail space at Newcastle will be equivalent to that at King’s Cross, and East Coast expects to attract a similar range of leading retailers. The dramatic portico space at Newcastle will be similarly striking to King’s Cross’ new single-span domed concourse.
Newcastle Central is a key station on the national rail network. East Coast provides high-speed, long-distance services to London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, and Scotland, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. There are 56 East Coast services from the station each weekday, including the flagship Flying Scotsman express which departs Newcastle at 07.03 and runs non-stop to London in just 2 hours 37 minutes.
Newcastle Central station is also a key public transport hub in Tyne and Wear, with its own Metro station and a range of local rail services to destinations across the North East. East Coast has been working closely with the City Council, NEXUS and other partners to ensure the improvements benefit all station users.
Notes to Editors
Newcastle Central station is one of only six Grade One listed railway stations in the UK. It is more than 160 years old and the station was designed by John Dobson for the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway Company, which subsequently became part of the North Eastern Railway. It was built in collaboration with Robert Stephenson, who was also responsible for the nearby High Level Bridge carrying road and rail traffic across the Tyne. The station officially opened in 1850, with Queen Victoria in attendance.
The architects of the project are Ryder Architecture. Established in 1953, multi award winning practice Ryder Architecture operates from offices in Newcastle, as well as Glasgow, Liverpool and London. With an annual turnover of £7 million and employing 100 staff, the practice was shortlisted for Architectural Practice of the Year in the 2012 Building Awards.
The constructor on the project is Miller Construction, part of The Miller Group, one of the UK’s largest construction companies, delivering first class projects across the UK for both public and private sector clients. Miller Construction operates across the UK and provides a complete construction offering.
About East Coast
On Monday to Friday, East Coast operates 155 train services along the East Coast Main Line, linking London King's Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland..
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