Full steam ahead

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

One of Edinburgh’s main stations has undergone an extensive multi-million pound refurbishment.

Works on Waverley Station occurred over four phases which have seen the 20 platform station entirely rejuvenated.

The £130 million investment is to create an environment that meets the needs of passengers in the 21st century while preserving Waverley’s rich heritage. The renewal programme included replacing the 34,000m2 station roof with clear, strengthened glass to shed new light on the station concourse and platforms, and creating a new Market Street entrance, increasing accessibility to the station for users.

The project has also included the refurbishment of the station concourse and main building exterior which will improve facilities for the passengers. Improvements to Platforms Eight and Nine have also taken place in which new canopies and station furniture has been installed. As well as these improvements, the station’s original ironwork features have been repaired and repainted. Non-essential station furniture, buildings and redundant high-level walkways have been permanently removed.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

Phase one involved the installation of a mezzanine bridge in the station, the renewal of tracks, and the introduction of additional platforms. Phase Two, which completed in June 2013, involved the renewal of the roof. The third phase of the project was more substantial and included platform upgrading, canopy installation, additional staircases on platforms eight and nine, the refurbishment of the car park and associated area as well as the construction of a new entrance at Market Street.

The fourth phase saw an external refurbishment of the station building, installation of several lifts and escalators, renewal of the boilers, roof repairs, secondary double glazing, and a refurbishment of the booking hall and ceiling. Phase Two, Three and Four ran concurrently with all phases being substantially completed in January 2014.

Other associated projects have been part of the redevelopment of Waverley Station including the resigning of the whole venue which will boost the passenger experience and allow people to pass through the station with ease. The resigning process will be completed by the end of March this year. The second associated project saw the introduction of anti-terrorism measures to the station on the 20th January 2014. Vehicle monitoring and access arrangements have been made so that all private cars are banned from the station, with only taxis allowed in.

Rail Construction News caught up with Network Rail’s Project Manager on the development, Ronald MacIntyre to find out more. He became involved with the Waverley Station scheme in August 2013 and said overseeing the completion of the project has been a rewarding task. He added:

“The project has been a complete transformation of a tired station; not only has the station been, rejuvenated but so have the staff and the public. The station is bright, airy and modern now offering improved facilities and services for passengers that previously were not available. The station’s access routes have been considerably improved, especially in light of elderly or disabled passengers, who now have a completely different access facility which allows them to pass through the station with ease.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

“By spending extensive amounts on the refurbishment new opportunities have arisen such as new spaces have appeared due to the demolition of old buildings. These new spaces mean capacity can be increased and services further improved in the future. Lots of things can come from this project and it has been lovely to see the progression.”

Ronald said that interfacing with the various stakeholders during the project has been a particularly taxing aspect of his role. Coordinating a refurbishment project around an operational, mainline station surrounded by offices, retail spaces and hotels was difficult.

Working around the public was extremely difficult for the team; works had to be scheduled carefully to keep disruption to a minimum. To lessen disruption the team offered a separate zone for workers so that the construction works were distinct from passengers.

When roof renewal works were underway a crash deck was installed, meaning a suspended ceiling-floor was introduced which separated the passengers from the workers. Fairly significant scaffolding was erected which was moved forward whenever parts of the roof were finished. Night shifts were also a large part of the refurbishment project which ensured there was minimum disruption to the station. Another measure taken was the redirection of trains to other platforms or stations when workers had possession of the track.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

Included in the overall package of improvements at Waverley Station was the redevelopment of Waverley Steps, which are used by around five million people every year. Following public exhibitions in the station in October 2008, Network Rail made an application for permission to rebuild Waverley Steps under the Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 (a ‘TAWS Order’) which was successful.

The steps have been built on Princes Street and so provide access to the Princes Mall shopping centre via two sets of covered escalators and two 16-person glass lifts. A glass and steel canopy over the newly refurbished steps has also been erected.

The two major principal contractors on the project have been Balfour Beatty, who undertook the works for Phase Two, and Spencer Group who completed Phases Three and Four. Both were awarded contracts after competitively tendering for the works. Balfour Beatty is an infrastructure services operating in over 80 countries. They provide construction services, professional services and an infrastructure investment business.

Spencer Group provides engineering solutions to industry leading companies and infrastructure providers, with a dedication to high quality and innovation, standing by clients from design to completion. Their divisions deliver services in rail infrastructure, engineering, energy, professional services and data solutions.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

Previous projects have been undertaken to transform Edinburgh Waverley before the commencement of this project. Two new, longer platforms were introduced and extensive track remodeling and new signaling was undertaken which allowed four more trains per hour to come through the station. The extra platform increases the capacity available for longer commuter services.

Following the Edinburgh Waverley Station improvements programme the station now boasts a selection of eateries and shops including Bagel Factory, Burger King, Nor Loch, M&S Simply Food, Caffe Nero Express, Millie’s Cookies, Pasty Shop, Upper Crust and Whistlestop. The station now also contains accessible toilets, baby change facilities, bike parking space, BT Police, a Bureau de change, Boots, Photo Booth, WHSmith and a First Class and Sleeper Lounge.


Waverley’s History

Waverley Station has a long and varied past; it was first opened in 1846 and was rebuilt between 1892 and 1902. It lies between the old town and modern Edinburgh, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens.

North Bridge station was opened by the North British Railway on 18 June 1846 with General station opening by Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway on 1 August 1846. Canal Street station was opened by Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway on 17 May 1847 and closed on 2 March 1868. It was after this that Edinburgh Waverley station finally came into existence in 1854 from these individual stations on adjacent sites. The station was extended between 1869 and 1874 and a new roof constructed with it being rebuilt between 1892 and 1900.

The station is of critical importance to Scotland’s historic, environmental and commercial well-being, as well as being key to delivering capacity for new rail lines such as the reopening of the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

The station is home to the North British War Memorial which was erected in memory of the members of the staff of the North British Railway company, who gave their lives for their country in the Great War 1914-1918. The past still survives in the station’s elaborate, domed ceiling despite a section of The Physic Garden being removed to make way for the station construction.

Waverley Station has had an interesting design over the years. The 1847 North Bridge station comprised a transverse ridge and furrow roof which was 300ft wide by 1100ft long and designed by engineers, Blyth and Cunningham. The 1900 North Bridge station had its roof rebuilt, again in the transverse ridge and furrow style. It was 375ft wide by 1240ft long and was designed by engineers, Blyth and Westland.

The former North British Hotel was designed by architects, Hamilton and George Beattie and the three span irons and steel North Bridge was built between 1896 and 1897 by Blyth and Westland.

 Network Rail’s improvement scheme

Network Rail has introduced an improvement project across all its stations; this includes the upgrade of the rail network to provide faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys between Britain’s towns and cities. The Waverley Station upgrade illustrates network Rail’s dedication to this scheme of improvement.

Every year 1.3 billion journeys are made on Britain’s railway and 100 million tonnes of freight is transported by rail between ports, factories and shops. UK-wide improvement programmes will bring wider benefits to local economies; rail investment stimulates private sector growth, and the network are investing in their workforce and introducing new technologies.

Upon inheriting the railway network in October 2002, Network Rail inherited an infrastructure that had been starved of investment for many years. There are around 35,000 staff at Network Rail who work hard day and night to improve every aspect of the railway.


Waverley Station, Edinburgh

The network has a system operator who plans and operates the network seamlessly. It also ensures all current or potential future train operators, whether they carry passengers or freight, are treated fairly when they use or seek to use the railway. The Network Rail team plan to meet future demand on a whole network basis using a Long Term Planning Process; this will involve taking the views of local stakeholders into account and incorporating their views into the rail networks development.

Local stakeholders will be given the opportunity to influence how the rail industry can drive and support economic growth, as well as giving passenger and freight operators the confidence they need to take their own strategic decisions in planning the future of their services. Initially draft market and route studies are published which are followed by a 90 day consultation period. Then subject to any representations being upheld by the Office of Rail Regulation, each route study is finalised 60 days later. After this the final versions are then published.

In a bid to make Network Rail the most efficient service the company are undertaking improvement projects nationwide. Major station improvement projects include Birmingham New Street, Farringdon, King’s Cross, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, Manchester Victoria, Newport, Paddington, Peterborough, Reading and Waterloo.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh

As part of the National Stations Improvement Programme over 60 projects have been completed so far, benefitting 150 different stations across England and Wales. Part of the programme includes ‘Access for All’ which is a major initiative to improve accessibility at train stations nationwide by installing lifts and ramps

Step-free stations are being introduced as they offer accessible routes from entrance to platform. Step-free access not only benefits disabled people or those with reduced mobility, but also people with children, heavy luggage or shopping, and some more elderly people. The ‘Access for All’ scheme is aimed to provide easier access to key stations and will not disrupt any train services as stations will remain open throughout the works.

The scheme will introduced better facilities into stations including automatic lifts are automatic which give an audible tone when the doors open and close. Staircases and platform edges will be given tactile warning surfaces and lowered handrails on footbridges will be installed.

The improvements project is managed and delivered by Network rail and funded by the Department for Transport who also select the stations. In Scotland, ministers recommended stations to the Secretary of State for Transport.

About the author

Premier Construction

Leave a Comment