In pictures: Meet the state-of-the-art, self-cleaning super roof planned for Manchester Victoria Station

By Tim Hyde

Mock-up pictures have revealed the impressive future-look of Manchester’s Victoria Station in a £44million facelift.

The Network Rail investment will pay for the refurbishment of the Grade II listed building as well as a new £16million state-of-the-art roof, since the current one leaks.

Improvements made to the the travel hub include renovations of the war memorial, glass dome, Soldiers Gate and the wall map which are scheduled to be completed by 2015.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “As anyone who has been to Victoria on a rainy day can tell you, there’s a problem with the roof.

“That’s why we plan to replace the old, leaking roof with a brand new, state of the art one befitting the grand design of the station buildings.”

Plans are for the new roof to be made of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) – the material used at Piccadilly station, the Eden Project in Cornwall and the swimming pool built for the Beijing Olympics, known as the Water Cube.

ETFE is lighter, cheaper and lets in more light than glass, which Network Rail believes makes it an ideal material for the roof. It is also self-cleaning. 

NEW LOOK: Computer generated images of what inside the station will look like Pictures courtesy of Network Rail Media Centre, with thanks

Dyan Crowther, Network Rail route managing director said: “Rebuilding Manchester Victoria is an integral part of our investment plans for the North which will help provide over £4bn worth of wider economic benefits to the region.

“The refurbished station will be safer, brighter and more spacious and will transform Victoria into a transport interchange able to cope with the expected increase in passenger numbers in the north.”

A daily commuter to Manchester, Derren King, believes that improving the station is a step in the right direction.

The 37-year-old coffee shop owner, from Stockport, said: “The current roof always has some sort of problem and looks like it needs updating.

“It is great for the area that companies continue to invest so much in the city.

“The plans for the new roof look amazing, but it will be hard to do around all the commuters.”

STATE-OF-THE-ART: The new-look roof will be self-cleaning and allow in more light Pictures courtesy of Network Rail Media Centre, with thanks

Another daily commuter Jordan Hynes, 29, a financial advisor from Wilmslow, said: “The station is getting slightly worse for wear and a new roof would make the whole station look a lot better.”

One disgruntled commuter who preferred not to be named said the station has been in need of repair for a long time.

“While it will course even more disruption to the already stressed commuters who face travel misery every day, I suppose it is necessary and will be better in the long run,” she said.

Network Rail are continuing their investment into Manchester after the business invested £3.2billion in 2012/2013 on the renovation of Victoria station and the re-development of commuter routes.

Lee Wasnidge, Area Director for Northern Rail said: “As the old roof is dismantled and a new Manchester Victoria starts to appear, our customers will be able to see the station transform before them.

“This refurbishment project will not only help provide additional rail capacity to the city but will also preserve the heritage of the station while providing a bright and modern environment for our customers.”

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “The new roof for Victoria is one of the most striking changes being made and something that regular passengers will no doubt welcome with open arms.

“It’s key to the transformation of the station to a welcoming, world class facility and I very much look forward to its completion.”

Last year more than £144million was spent on improving the railway line which helped support 5,627 local jobs.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “Investing in infrastructure has a direct effect on the economy, creating jobs, and giving Britain the infrastructure we need to build a stronger economy and fairer society.

In the last four years, Network Rail has generated £17.3billion of work for its supply chain and is planning to enhance its expenditure between 2014 and 2019 to approximately £25billion.

Pictures courtesy of Network Rail Media Centre, with thanks.

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