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Author Topic: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Post WW2 Railway Station Architecture  (Read 1825 times)
johnneyw
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« on: August 06, 2019, 04:16:04 pm »

Following from my post on the Weymouth Station Disappointment thread:

The 1980s Weymouth Station modification/rebuild is certainly not without it's critics on this forum as has been the case for other examples of post WW2 station architecture . This got me thinking, do forum members have any examples of post WW2 Station architecture that they actually think works well, both aesthetically and functionally?

Also, are there any notable "dishonourable mentions" that forum members would like to let off some steam about?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 04:25:07 pm »

Post WW2 includes anything to date, which I'' not sure that's what you mean? Do you want to put an end-date on this question? Or I'll nominate Reading rebuild
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 04:38:14 pm »

Post WW2 includes anything to date, which I'' not sure that's what you mean? Do you want to put an end-date on this question? Or I'll nominate Reading rebuild

I think that Chrisís post hints in the direction that my thoughts were turning. The Weymouth rebuild was undertaken in a very different set of circumstances to Reading, and we must be careful not to look with 20/20 hindsight on what had gone before.

The 1980s were a time when rail usage was flat-lining if not declining. In general terms the facilities that had been provided in the past were far and away in excess of what was required then. The BR Property Board saw great advantages in selling of real estate and providing a level of provision that suited the travelling public of the dayís needs. And generally that was what happened.

Furthermore, many of the older buildings and platforms had stood there for well over 100 years and maintenance had been somewhat lacking, to say the least. It was often far cheaper to knock a platform out and replace it with a simpler concrete structure rather than attempt repairs.

In the last 20-odd years the situation of declining rail travel has completely reversed. In todayís refurbishments, account is taken of possible increases in traffic rather than reductions in it, and the rebuild of Reading is a prime example of this new way of thinking.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 04:46:04 pm »

The 1960s rebuild of Euston as a good example of "Modernisation" thinking (However, ruined since by RT/NR by installing a sub-deck and losing the air of openness Cry).

https://youtu.be/10Gj6yYBuu4

« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 04:52:02 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged

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johnneyw
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 04:54:58 pm »

The end of WW2 is an admittedly arbitrary date but nationalisation in 1947 was soon after which heralded (at least in theory) a new railway planning regime. Add to this post war architectural trends facilitated by the need to rebuild much of bombed Britain (railways included) and this seems to me to be a time of significant change in the way we designed our railway buildings which has attracted favourable and less favourable critique in the past, hence my question.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 05:14:37 pm »

As a example from myself, the old Birmingham New Street station was to me a particularly unsuccessful attempt at a modern station and I never enjoyed the experience of being there. While the replacement has not to my mind completely addressed all the shortcomings of the earlier incarnation I think it's a real improvement.


Additionally, right from it's opening, I always liked Waterloo's Eurostar terminal but I haven't had a chance to see what it's like now since it's repurposing for UK only services.


More recently and on a much smaller scale, although I've only seen it from the outside, I was reasonably impressed with Kenilworth's new station which, I think, suited it's location.



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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 05:25:45 pm »

Howard Fairbairn's East Grinstead rebuild from 2012 is a personal favourite.
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TonyK
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 05:40:21 pm »

As a example from myself, the old Birmingham New Street station was to me a particularly unsuccessful attempt at a modern station and I never enjoyed the experience of being there. While the replacement has not to my mind completely addressed all the shortcomings of the earlier incarnation I think it's a real improvement.


I agree. Whilst the platforms remain a little more like an underground station than most mainline station, the concourse is an improvement on the previous imagining, and the tram stop outside is handy too.
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2019, 06:25:33 pm »

Euston is my favourite post WW2 large station, rather spoiled by growing clutter but still impressive.
Rather spoiled in the 1980s by use of nasty orange high pressure sodium lamps. Now replaced with cool white metal halide lamps.
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2019, 06:45:28 pm »

Oxford has always had station buildings that might be said to have never been that great, and were decidedly shabby by the 1960s but the two (arguably three maybe) remodels since then were inadequate and out of date more or less already before they were opened.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2019, 07:47:07 pm »

A personal favourite is Coventry. Modernism done well there.

Done badly? Stafford.
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2019, 09:35:23 pm »

Exmouth station I find disappointing. It is similar to Weymouth in being a coastal destination with a heavily rationalised layout and rebuilt station replacing a more traditional one.

It featured in an episode of the excellent 1988 BBC series 'The Train Now Departing' (worth watching just for the beautiful title music with the Ivo Peters footage of Low Gill viaduct). The episode is still available to view online;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p011v83w

The comments by Barry Smith regarding the station near the end of the episode sum up the station well.
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2019, 07:39:39 am »

I find Gatwick somewhat lacking, dark and low. Be interesting to see what the proposed revamp comes up with.
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2019, 09:11:39 am »

I find Gatwick somewhat lacking, dark and low. Be interesting to see what the proposed revamp comes up with.

Quote
Planned upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding 5 new lifts and 8 escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening 2 platforms to reduce overcrowding.

The little video shows escalators and daylight - but that's just at the side of the overhead deck. If that does double in size, presumably more of the platform level will be undergrounded. So expect better lighting, white paint, and perhaps a bit of more colourful prettifying - at most.
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2019, 09:21:06 am »

Derby - Not the present one - the post war rebuild that fell apart and had a scaffolding inner footbridge for over 30 years and later a shroud of netting to stop bits of concrete falling on people. 
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