MAJOR plans to redevelop and expand Scotland’s second busiest railway station have been put on public display by Network Rail.
The rail operator says the proposal will allow Edinburgh Waverley to cope with soaring numbers of passengers over the next few decades, with annual footfall through the terminal predicted to double to over 49 million by 2048.
Dubbed ‘the Waverley Masterplan’, funds for the redevelopment will be phased over the next 30 years and jointly managed by Edinburgh-based consultants Arup, Network Rail and City of Edinburgh Council.
Requirements include boosting passenger space to avoid crowding and congestion, improving accessibility from the Old Town, Waverley Bridge and Princes Street whilst also seeking to deliver a modern, vibrant station for passengers.
Waverley’s overall footprint would be extended and the roofline raised significantly to accommodate an upper-level mezzanine area above the existing platforms.
A public engagement phase of the masterplan will run from today at Waverley Station until 26 April. An exhibition showing the plans will be placed on the concourse at the station for the duration, with the exception of 1 and 2 April, when it will be on display at Haymarket.
Alex Hynes, Managing Director of the ScotRail Alliance, which includes Network Rail Scotland, said: “Waverley has seen its footfall more than double from 10 million to over 24 million within the last ten years and the latest estimates suggest that it will more than double again, to 49 million, by 2048. Such a steep increase is a positive indicator of the railway’s economic influence on the city and Scotland but also a clear sign that further investment will be required.
“We are creating additional rail provision within Waverley at present and will continue to seek new ways to create the best railway that Scotland has ever had. However, more trains mean more people and that inevitably adds to the pressure on station infrastructure and the surrounding streets.
“The work of the masterplan team to date suggests that some ambitious improvements to the layout of the station will be required to enable Waverley to meet the future needs of the station, the city and the country. Before a completed Waverley Masterplan is published, we are keen to listen to the views of our customers and stakeholders. With passenger numbers continuing to grow, ‘doing nothing’ is not an option.”
Lesley Macinnes, Convener of the Transport and Environment Committee, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Waverley Station is pivotal to our city’s public transport offering, so it’s essential that we provide a modern, accessible facility to welcome the millions of passengers passing through each year, encouraging trips by train and enabling seamless onward journeys in Edinburgh.
“With a rapidly increasing population and ever more visitors coming to the Capital, it’s necessary that we rethink the way we approach transport. In the face of such pressures we need to facilitate rail travel as a reliable and efficient choice for commuters – as well as residents and visitors. Our own plans for City Centre Transformation aim to create an inclusive, people-friendly environment, with active travel at its core, and the Waverley Masterplan will be a key element to this ambition too.
“It’s essential that we continue to work with partners, stakeholders and the public to realise this vision, so I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say on initial proposals.”
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity said: “Edinburgh Waverley is the gateway to Scotland’s capital and beyond with a real historical significance within the city’s heritage. As rail grows in popularity, it is only fitting the station is enhanced in the years and decades to come thus enabling it to accommodate forecast passenger demand for cross-border, regional and commuter services.
“It is vital that we do not lose sight of Waverley’s distinctive character. By engaging, listening, developing and testing concepts we will be better able to deliver a future-proofed station that focuses on the passenger experience within its distinctive world-class setting. That is why I encourage Edinburgh residents, rail commuters and visitors to make their views known and engage positively in shaping the future for Waverley.”
Lothian MSP Miles Briggs commented: “This is an exciting new proposal for the development of Edinburgh Waverly Station.
“Whatever form the new development of Edinburgh Waverley Station takes, it is essential that disabled access is central to the new proposal.
“I strongly encourage anyone interested in the new Waverly Masterplan to engage with the consultation taking place, at the train station, showing the different options for the development.”
Following consultation and passenger feedback, the full masterplan is expected to be published by the autumn.
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