Manchester’s Victoria railway station will officially be reopened today following a £44m project spanning over 5 years. Four new tram platforms and three new train tacks were reopened in February and these developments saw passenger numbers increase by 100%, as the new station will be able to provide for an extra 20,000 people each day. The project was meant to be completed by April/May however unforeseen problems, including a culvert, caused substantial delays. The station now boasts services that it couldn’t previously offer, such as café’s and shops.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will declare the new station open today by unveiling a plaque. McLoughlin has been praising everyone involved within the refurbishment of the station and believes that the project provides evidence of British unity under David Cameron’s Conservative government. McLoughlin said, “I want to congratulate everyone involved in this remarkable project. It’s now a symbol of opportunity, not neglect, and proof that this one nation government is building the Northern Powerhouse”.
The station’s period features have recently been restored whilst a new cutting-edge ‘bubble roof’ has just been added, worth £20m. The newly added roof is part of a project of modernisation after Victoria Station was labelled ‘Britain’s worst station’ in a 2009 department for transport report. The project to re-build the station’s roof was the biggest of its kind and incorporates around 400 panels made from EFTE, a polymer material also utilised on Cornwall’s Eden Project. The former roof had been leaking since 1996 after it suffered damage following the planting and explosion of a bomb courtesy of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Victoria Station first opened in 1844 and the historical building encompasses a number of grade II listed buildings and features which have been preserved throughout the project. Chief Executive of Network Rail Mark Carne stated that, “Six years ago it was dubbed Britain’s worst station- today it must surely be among the country’s best. For far too long people travelling in and out of Manchester Victoria had to make do with a tired and dark station. The contrast today is remarkable”.
TNT News Billy Rooney