Published: 14th May 2015
Around £64 million is being spent on Leeds and Manchester Victoria stations providing a complete modernisation of the latter and a new entrance for the former.
This investment will ensure that the continued growth in passenger numbers can be accommodated at these key stations. Manchester Victoria had been undergoing a £44million transformation after a decade ago being voted as one of the worst major stations in Britain.
Leeds is having a new southern entrance being constructed at a cost of £20 million and is driving the regeneration of the waterside area. The project will be completed this Autumn and make passengers’ journeys a lot easier as there is no direct access to this area from the station. Manchester Victoria when completed later this year, will become a bright and spacious transport interchange for trains, trams and buses.
The two stations are key hubs in the Northern Hub scheme which also includes the North West Electrification programme. This scheme is scheduled to be completed by 2019 enabling hundreds more trains to run each day easing crowded rail travel conditions.
Leeds is the second busiest station outside London and was modernised by Railtrack in the late 1990s but growth has already outstripped this work. The area to the south of the station has seen substantial growth and regeneration over the past 10 years and the two areas of growth created the need for the new entrance. It has been estimated that up to 20% of passengers using Leeds will use the new entrance which is being built over the River Aire comprising of an eye catching enclosed building. Open link span bridges will provide direct stepped access from this to both banks of the river.
The new entrance will be linked in to the station footbridges and concourse via a widened bridge over platforms 15, 16, and 17. This also provides an upper concourse with customer information screens, ticket vending machines and automated ticket barriers. The £20 million project is jointly promoted by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Network Rail with £12.4m from the Department for Transport and some funding from West Yorkshire's Local Transport Plan, Network Rail and Leeds City Council. The main design was agreed six years ago and Planning Permission granted a year later.
Installation of the steel hoops to form the entrance superstructure has been completed and scaffolding put in place to enable the cladding to be fitted is nearly complete. The East and West wing footbridges have been installed as has the steelwork erection over platforms 15-17 creating the new connection to the station.
Manchester Victoria’s new modern and accessible facilities are taking shape under a £16million ‘contemporary structure’ creating a bright, modern and fitting gateway to the city. The station concourse is being improved with a new fully accessible bridge linking to the Manchester Evening News arena, and to the footbridge spanning platforms 3-6 will allow for future growth in passenger numbers.
Refurbishment of the original ticket hall and the provision of new glazed entrances will lift the overall look, feel and usability of the station. The upgrade of the Metrolink tram facilities with new platforms and track will enable the wider expansion of Greater Manchester’s tram network. The station was opened in 1844 and includes Grade II listed buildings and features which are being preserved and restored as part of the redevelopment.
Renovation work is being carried out on the war memorial, glass dome, Soldiers’ Gate, various station mosaics, the wall map and the familiar glass and iron canopy that runs the length of the station façade.
Manchester Victoria will again become a Jewel in the crown of major provincial stations when the project is completed this year - rather than a place to avoid if possible.