Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 11:56 UK

Station to be shed in new light

Waverley Station (artist impression)
The 34,000 square metre roof is equivalent to about eight football pitches in size

A new clear glass roof is planned for Edinburgh's main railway station in a bid to make it "cleaner and brighter", according its owners.

Network Rail has lodged proposals for a £130m overhaul of Waverley Station with Edinburgh City Council.

The Victorian roof is at the centre of the project, which will see it re-glazed with strengthened glass.

Presently artificial light is used in the station as the cloudy, wire safety glass prevents natural light.

The roof will also be designed to capture rain water for potential use in a future 'grey water' recycling scheme.

These plans strike the right balance between preserving Waverley's rich heritage and creating a station environment which meets the needs of passengers in the 21st Century
Ron McAulay
Network Rail

However the equipment will not be plumbed in so, for example, the station's toilets will not flush using rain water until plans are confirmed in the future.

The roof will also be made to be more accessible for cleaners and maintenance workers.

Network Rail also plans to resurface the stations' concourse as well as revamping the southern Market Street entrance with a ramp and lifts.

Improvements to platforms 8 and 9, refurbishment of the main building exterior and repairs to the Calton Road entrance are also planned.

The station's original ironwork features will be repaired and repainted while non-essential station furniture, buildings and redundant high level walkways will be removed permanently under the new plans.

Ron McAulay, Network Rail's Scotland director, said: "These plans strike the right balance between preserving Waverley's rich heritage and creating a station environment which meets the needs of passengers in the 21st Century.

"The station enhancements will require a large amount of construction work to take place in the station during normal working hours, however, from past experience we're confident that we can carry out the work without major disruption to passengers.

"We have consulted with heritage groups and other interested parties while drawing up these plans and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition following consideration from the council's planning department."

'Welcome improvement'

The plans come just a year after a multi-million pound project to add four platforms and lifts and escalators was completed.

Robert Samson, Passenger Focus manager, said: "These proposals will provide a welcome improvement to the passenger experience at Waverley Station.

"Step free access at both the north and south of the station will be a welcome relief for anyone with heavy luggage, pushing a pram or using a wheelchair.

"We're also pleased to see that the plans will modernise the station without losing its unique character - something which both regular passengers and visitors to Edinburgh genuinely value."

The scheme is expected to be completed by 2014 if planning permission is gained from the council for the Category A complex.

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