Home Company News New report examines future design of local stations

New report examines future design of local stations

A report commissioned by Network Rail which looked into the future of railway station design has been published by Design Council. ThinkStation provides a framework for the future design of local stations following a wide-reaching engagement exercise completed earlier this year.

There are currently 2,000 small-to-medium local stations (categories D, E and F) in Great Britain, making up around 80 per cent of Network Rail’s station ownership.

Design Council organised 11 workshops, with 324 attendees from 120 organisations, in four major British cities. Its findings put forward priorities for designing a passenger hub of the future, next steps for using this learning and wider strategic advice for Network Rail and the rail industry.

The nine priorities that will guide the future design, development and procurement of local stations are:

  • Support existing and new communities in their local area
  • Reflect and embody local character and heritage
  • Provide consistent quality of space and service
  • Establish connections with and between the town centre and/or the high street
  • Celebrate, improve the quality of and/or provide access to green and open spaces
  • Be welcoming and facilitate inclusive travel
  • Support and better integrate cross modal transport
  • Help to address climate change
  • Ensure longevity by accommodating changes of use, capacity and trends

Sue Morgan, director of architecture and built environment at Design Council, said: “Better stations will improve millions of people’s lives and boost the quality of surrounding spaces through economic renewal, social enhancement and environmental restoration.

“Most of us would naturally accept these themes as priorities already, but this report demonstrates a clear evidence base, sets out ideas for bringing them forward and establishes Network Rail’s expectation that each one of them is a priority that will be present in future plans for all local stations.

“The rail industry is right to keep championing good design and applying design thinking when facing strategic opportunities and challenges, but it is hard. Station design varies greatly, and improvements need resourcing, which is now more of a challenge than ever. But, long term, our stations need to give passengers a better experience and they need to make more substantial contributions to global issues, such as climate change, and local needs, such as high street vitality. This report makes the task clearer for everyone involved.”

Anthony Dewar, professional head of buildings and architecture at Network Rail, added: “We wanted to put passengers and stakeholders at the heart of the next generation of railway stations.

“The ambition here is to raise the quality of design across our network as well as responding to the evolving role of infrastructure within communities. 80 per cent of our stations need to be integrated into smaller urban and rural contexts and this report creates a framework that can then be made appropriate to each community and its needs.

“This report envisions stations that value communities, connectivity and stronger placemaking and we want to make that happen through the upcoming competition and across our portfolio.”

The ThinkStation report and its findings will inform the brief and judging for Network Rail’s international design competition for medium and small stations across Great Britain, as well as shaping future design work and further community engagement. The competition, which will be run by RIBA, will launch in July.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

HS2 tunnel segment factory building complete

Structural work on the temporary pre-cast factory that will produce tunnel wall segments for HS2’s 10-mile-long Chiltern tunnels, has been completed at...