Rail Industry Focus

10.02.16

LSSE: Network rail entering a new era of station design

Source: RTM Feb/Mar 16

Penny Gilg, Network Rail’s project manager on the Leeds Southern Station Entrance (LSSE), discusses how the infrastructure owner is changing its approach to station design.

The opening of the new Leeds Southern Station Entrance (LSSE) is a prime example of how Network Rail is moving into a new era focused more on the overall passenger experience, RTM has been told. 

Penny Gilg, Network Rail’s project manager on the£20m LSSE scheme, said traditionally Network Rail has been seen as “bricks and railways” but that the company is moving beyond this. 

“We have King’s Cross, Birmingham New Street and I’d like to put us in that bracket of ‘iconic’ structures,” she said. 

“It has required a change of thinking in Network Rail to say ‘these structures might be a bit more difficult to maintain, and present more challenges when building them, but it really is worth it as the passenger now has a great experience throughout the station to their destination at the end’.” 

LSSE has certainly presented enough challenges for Network Rail, and its contractor Carillion, as the structure has been built over the River Aire which brings its own safety risks, and the apartment blocks on either side made site access very constrained. In fact, the majority of material for the project was brought upriver to the site, from Carillion’s compound and assembly yard about 1km downstream at Water Lane. 

Back in summer 2015, RTM visited the site after the steel hoops and trusses for the structure had been put in place. The project was originally meant to be complete by May 2015, but obstructions hit in the river when piling; high and fast river flows; and high winds halting tower crane operation all contributed to a delayed timetable.  

Official opening 

The new entrance, which provides a direct link to the city’s growing south bank area and will be used by up to one fifth of the station’s 100,000 daily users, was officially opened by transport minister Andrew Jones MP in January 2016. 

With steps, escalators and a lift from its concourse deck over the River Aire, LSSE provides an accessible route to the city’s Granary Wharf area adjacent to the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Customer information screens, ticket vending machines and automated ticket gates are located at the point where the new entrance meets the existing station footbridge. 

When RTM last visited the site, workers were only just starting to apply cladding to the structure. 

“The cladding was made up of between five and seven layers, and the building curved in both sections,” said Gilg. “The first few layers were bespoke made for the curvature, and they all came numbered up. The next layer, however, was more off-the-shelf sheets, which was intended to be put on in a certain manner. So it was quite challenging to accommodate those curves. 

“Once it was all up, and the scaffolding was removed to reveal the gold shine, it got a lot of positive feedback.” 

345 The inside of Leeds station's new southern entrance edit

A further challenge, added Gilg, was tying the structure into the existing station systems. “The station already has CCTV, public alarm voice systems and customer information screens, lighting and fire alarms,” she said. 

“Over the last few months we spent a lot of time tying into the existing systems, some of which are more than 20 years old. They use obsolete products, so we had to use new products that tie into the system. It had been envisaged, but even in the two-and-a-half years since we started construction, to the point of putting in the CCTV, products have become obsolete in that time.” 

Adding in the new circuits also included shutting power off to the entire station, with the work taking place over three night shifts. “Luckily, we had a good working relation with the station by that point,” said Gilg. 

Over the Christmas period, when the river levels started to rise due to the storms battering the north of the country, the decision was made to leave scaffolding on the structure’s maintenance deck. This remained in place when the station opened, but has since been removed. 

“It was really stressful before Christmas, but it was a great team effort of everyone on the job to get it ready for the opening,” said Gilg, adding that on such a complex project it was very important to build up trust among all the parties involved. “It meant we could have some really open and honest conversations.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio ... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >