Wednesday 23 Sep 2009


Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western

The transformation of Paddington station moves a step closer this week as major work starts on Network Rail’s £35m project to fully restore platforms 9 to 12 and the Edwardian roof.

The important milestone is being accompanied by an exhibition at the station, which runs from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 October, where passengers can find out about the project and other exciting improvements coming to Paddington in the future.

Today span 4 – the section of roof above platforms 9 to 12 – is hidden by a false ceiling which was erected in 1996 to protect passengers from the ageing glass above. From now until late 2010, engineers will work high above the station’s tens of thousands of users to repair the metalwork and replace all the glazing, allowing the light to flood back in to the soon-to-be refurbished platforms.

The span 4 extension includes not just the roof, but the platforms, the structures supporting London Street, and a network of bridges and walkways – as well as the mechanical and electrical systems. All of these are being either renewed or replaced as part of Network Rail’s multimillion pound investment.

Each piece of work is designed so that Span 4 should not need major maintenance again for a quarter of a century – while the new and restored structures can expect to be used for another 75 years. All this will be achieved without closing the station and with minimal disruption to passengers.

Chris Rayner, Network Rail route director, said: “For more than a decade, passengers using Paddington have been deprived of one-quarter of this wonderful station’s architecture and atmosphere. The work to restore span 4 will make the station lighter, brighter and lays the foundations for further improvements including Crossrail and the future electrification of the Great Western mainline."

The span 4 project is just part of a wider programme of improvements at Paddington station. Following the restoration of the original three spans of the roof, passengers have also benefited from new customer information systems, new platform surfaces and a new shopping, eating and waiting area. Further improvements to the customer information systems are soon to be installed.

With the transformation of span 4, the restoration process will be complete. This side of the station will be opened up to the light for the first time since the 1990s, and all of Paddington’s users will be able to enjoy the station’s magnificent roofs.

As well as restored roofs and refurbished platforms, tomorrow’s passengers will also benefit from the integration of Crossrail services at Paddington. The span 4 project will pave the way for this exciting new development, with the taxi rank relocated to the span 4 side of the station – making way for a brand new Crossrail interchange.


Notes to editors

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s majestic terminus was completed in 1854. Since then, the station has undergone a sequence of changes and adaptations to make it better for passengers – while preserving its character and the essence of its iconic design.

The Span 4 section of roof was added to the original station between 1911 and 1916, to provide more sheltered platforms for goods traffic and to accommodate a growing number of passengers. It was part of a major extension to the station, one that sought to meet the needs of the day – without distorting Brunel’s original vision.

Major works to restore and refurbish the first three spans of Paddington’s roof drew to a close in 1993, but Span 4 has had to wait until now before its restoration.

In the 1990s the glass in the roof began to deteriorate, so in 1996 a false ceiling was installed above the platforms to protect passengers from any debris that could fall. The pillars have also been clad in protective hoardings, white wooden boxes hiding the pillars from public view.

Although these works have been important for safety, they have made this section of the station less attractive and darker. Now, with the restoration of Span 4, the beauty of the Edwardian roof will once again be on display for passengers to enjoy.

Brunel is credited with the first idea for trains crossing London, and had a scheme – eventually withdrawn – for Great Western trains to run underground at Paddington. As preparations for the Crossrail programme get under way, this vision of faster links between the city’s east and west is getting closer to being realised at last.

The Crossrail network will run all the way from Maidenhead in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex, allowing passengers to travel into and across London without having to rely on the Underground or mainline rail services. The scale of the engineering challenge involved is incredible – with a massive new tunnel being dug across the city and major station expansion and development projects along the entire route.

Network Rail is a key partner in Crossrail – along with the Department for Transport, Transport for London, Crossrail Ltd and others. To deliver the project, we will invest £2.3 billion in upgrading our network around the capital, where we will be responsible for the design, development and delivery of the ‘on network works’. These are the improvements outside the central tunnel, much of which will take place on an active, operational railway. So we will play a key role in keeping the railway safe – and disruption to passengers and freight companies to a minimum.

At Paddington, the transformation of Span 4 will do its bit to help make Crossrail possible. The existing taxi rank (next to Platform 1) will move over to this side of the station, leaving space for a brand new Crossrail interchange.

Notes to editors


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