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£14.5m roof investment is transforming Carlisle station

The new roof of Carlisle station

[C]arlisle passengers are beginning to reap the benefits of a better station with lighter, brighter platforms thanks to the transformation of the historic roof.

As part of the Great North Rail Project, a key strand of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is investing £14.5m to extend the life of the roof, which dates back to 1847, with safer, easier to maintain material which will bathe the platforms with daylight.

The roof’s metalwork is being brought back to life with a complete repaint and the main lighting above the platforms is being renewed which will further enhance the look and feel of the station.

The improvements have been made possible thanks to a huge scaffold access deck which has been installed above the tracks through the station which provides a safe area for Network Rail’s orange army to carry out the work.

Vitally it means passengers’ journeys have not been impacted during the upgrade and up to 1,500 trains have continued to travel through the station as normal every week.

Network Rail has worked closely with Virgin Trains, which manages the station, to plan the work and minimise the impact on the station and passengers as much as possible.

Light begins to stream into Carlisle station as the new roof is unveiled and the scaffolding removed

Chris Atkins, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said: “Passengers are really beginning to see the transformation of Carlisle station as a result of this work. The rejuvenated roof will mean a brighter, more airy and cleaner environment which will enhance the station’s beautiful features.

“It is a significant investment into Carlisle which has not been without its challenges. The scaffolding needed to carry out the work is a feat of engineering in itself but being able to carry out the work without impacting passengers’ journeys was always our aim.

“The result will be a better station which will be a fitting gateway to the historic city of Carlisle.”

Passengers are able to see the improvements unfurl as the huge scaffolding is slowly taken down and the roof is unveiled.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson saw first hand today (Friday 4 August) the work going on and the difference it is making when he was given a tour of the roof space and station today.

Darren Horley from Virgin Trains; Carlisle MP John Stevenson; and Pat Cawley from Network Rail, on the roof of Carlisle station

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, said: “Carlisle’s train station is one of the most important gateways into the city. I am delighted to see the renovations have preserved the historic spirit and beauty of the building. Not only have the railways played a central role in the development of our city, but they will continue to be vital for creating greater prosperity in our future. We are an extremely well connected city, thanks to our railways, but there are still improvements to be made. I will continue working with Transport for the North and the Department for Transport to ensure that, at all levels of Government, we have the support we need to deliver the best, and the safest, passenger experience for everyone in Carlisle, wherever they want to go.”

Michael Byrne, Virgin Trains’ station manager at Carlisle, said: “We’re proud to support this great project to restore the roof and would like to thank customers for their continued patience during the works. Once complete, it will transform this beautiful station, bringing it back to its former glory and enhance the experience for customers travelling to and from Carlisle.”

The material used to replace the glass is ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), the same as used on the roofs of the recently redeveloped Manchester Victoria and Birmingham New Street stations. It is also used at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Network Rail has worked closely with Historic England and Carlisle City Council to plan the refurbishment while protecting the station’s listed building status.

Original plans to resurface the platforms are being rescheduled to allow the repainting of the metalwork at the same time as the glass being replaced. Dates for the work will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Work started is due to be completed with all scaffolding removed by February 2018.

The majority of the glass removed from the roof is being recycled by North West Recycling Ltd, based at Kingmoor Park, Carlisle. Around 120 tonnes of glass has been removed from the roof and will be recycled into new new bottles and windows .

For further information about this work or any other on the railway contact Network Rail’s national helpline on 03457 114 141 or visit

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