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Railway Architecture Part 4 - Modern British Railway Stations

Stuart Jordan

STUART JORDAN looks at how stations have been renewed and rebuilt to adapt to the modern world.

It's rare for a new station to be opened on the British railway network, but many have been refurbished in order to accommodate new stock and increasing passenger numbers. Often these are large multi-million-pound design and construction projects in major cities.

Canary Wharf Underground Station

Canary Wharf Underground Station

One of the oval entrances to the Underground station.

Canary Wharf is part of the Jubilee Line Extension, which opened in 1999. Previously, the Docklands area was only served (poorly) by the Canary Wharf DLR station. The Underground station was designed by Sir Norman Foster, and was built in a hollowed out dock basin. It has two oval glass house entrances, and the escalators and part of the concourse have the honour of appearing in the Star Wars film Rogue One, doubling as part of an Imperial base!

Newport Station

Newport Station

The distinctive new footbridge at Newport.

Newport is the third busiest station in Wales, after Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queens Street. The station was originally opened in 1836 as part of the Great Western Railway. A series of redevelopments were made between 2007 and 2009, and building work was carried out by the engineering company Atkins. One of the additions was the distinctive ‘snail shell' footbridge.

Birmingham New Street Station/Gateway Plus

Birmingham New Street Station CC Bs0u10e01

The entrance to Birmingham New Street under John Lewis.

Birmingham New Street has been redeveloped several times since the first station was built on the site in 1854. The latest was completed in 2017. Gateway Plus was designed by London agency Foreign Office Architects, and it regenerated the station and the Pallasades Shopping Centre above it. Three corners of the station building now have large eye-shaped LED screens which display travel information and advertising.

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station

The light, open concourse at Kings Cross.

The new concourse for Kings Cross Station was designed in 2012 by John McAslan, who claims it to be the largest single-span station structure in Europe. The station was redeveloped with the express purpose to increase the integration between the Underground, suburban, and intercity services which run from the station. The centrepiece is the sweeping grid structure that curves up to the roof, which is made up of more than 2000 panels.

London Bridge Station

London Bridge Station

One of the new concourses at London Bridge.

The first station built on the site of London Bridge was completed in 1836 for the London and Greenwich Railway. The station was extensively redeveloped between 2012 and 2017 as part of the Thameslink project, which included a new entrance for the Shard building completed in 2012. The redevelopment included the restructuring of the platforms for longer trains, the addition of two new entrances, and new concourses.

Modelling Modern Stations

Any of the stations above would give a modellers to sink their teeth into! As you can see from the pictures, modern architecture can be curved, square, innovative or reflecting earlier styles. These sort of styles are probably best suited to design and scratchbuilding.

Faller Horrem Station

One station that is ripe for adapting is the Horrem Station from Faller. This kit is available in both OO/HO and N Scale, and could definitely be adapted to look like one of the smaller, glass-fronted stations that have been built recently.

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