Aberstwyth Railway Station NSIP+
Refurbishing a terminus railway station which serves a busy university town while allowing it to remain operational and minimising disruption is a challenge. However, careful planning and a phased approach allowed Griffiths to achieve just that at Aberystwyth Station.
Aberystwyth is the terminus station of the Cambrian Line on the west coast of Wales. A single platform station operated by Arriva Trains Wales, it was one of five Welsh stations to undergo improvement under the National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP+).
The £70m NSIP+ was launched to make a difference to over 200 medium-sized stations targeting areas such as passenger information and facilities. The programme continues the successful £180m programme that took place between 2009-2014. Over 400 projects have been completed so far.
The work at Aberystwyth included the complete refurbishment of the station building and platform canopies, as well as provision of a new ticket office, remodelling of the station entrance, new statement entrance canopy, improvements to the car park and new public realm works.
The challenge facing Griffiths was to carry out the work in a way which allowed the station to remain fully operational, while minimising disruption and inconvenience for passengers and staff.
The strategy proposed by Griffiths was for a phased approach. A carefully planned project sequence would see the ticket office and public access relocated to temporary locations to allow work to be undertaken. This would ensure minimum disruption.
As safety was paramount and would need to be well-managed throughout the scheme, this phased approach ensured safe access and egress to and from the station.
Throughout the project Griffiths’ Project Manager held regular meetings with Arriva Trains Wales to discuss the subsequent stages of work and how the station would remain operational with minimal disruption.
Vacant rooms in the station building were used to create a temporary ticket office and passenger waiting room while the original ticket office area was renovated.
When this work was completed, the ticket office was moved back to its original location and the vacant rooms were subsequently refurbished. During this stage the station layout was altered to create a larger waiting room. New customer toilets and a new retail unit in the station forecourt were also created.
The second stage of work saw the refurbishment of the platform canopy. Built in 1863 and greatly extended in 1925, Aberystwyth station has been Grade II listed since 1987. The wrought iron platform canopy with its glass paned roof is the essence of the station.
Again, this work was conducted in such a way as to keep the station fully operational. The canopy was scaffolded to allow passengers to use the platform without disruption as the work was being carried out. The canopy work included painting and repairs to the roof and glazing.
The final stage of the project saw the addition of a new showpiece canopy and improved step-free access at the station entrance. The new canopy is the most striking feature of the Aberystwyth Station renovation project.
The aim of the scheme is to revamp the station environment at Aberystwyth by making noticeable and lasting improvements for the benefit of passengers. Stations are the shop window for the railway and we hope the improvements will encourage even more people on to the trains. In the longer term, revitalising the station and improving the gateway to Aberystwyth may also act as a catalyst for even further regeneration in the area.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s Wales Route Managing Director