Plans to transform Edinburgh Waverley station have been revealed by Network Rail, the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.
The Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan has been developed in collaboration with City of Edinburgh Council’s City Centre Transformation Programme to prioritise movement by foot, cycle and public transport and fundamentally change the way people move about the city in the future.
It envisions a station that is a vital part of the city, with a major new public space on Waverley Bridge providing views of the iconic city skyline. It will be a station that puts people first, providing easy access for all, and creating vital city connections for walking, cycling and public transport.
The Masterplan partners, as part of the concept design, are proposing a new mezzanine concourse across the whole station. This will help deliver better access to Waverley from the surrounding streets, enable the creation of fully accessible entrances and increase circulation space for passengers.
It will also provide the opportunity to extend the operational platforms below, create new facilities to cater for future growth in passengers and services and also help improve the all-round experience for people using the station.
The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said: “The Masterplan has produced an exciting concept design which delivers a station that can meet operational requirements for the longer term and improves accessibility for all by addressing, through its use of a mezzanine floor, the complex levels around the station.
“By introducing new points of access in key areas, this plan will ensure the station becomes a seamless gateway to the Old and New towns of Edinburgh and one that encourages greater commuter, business and leisure use alike.
“The next stage of design work will see how 21st century functionality can be incorporated within the historical setting of Waverley so that we deliver a station that can meet operational requirements for the longer term and deliver a fantastic user experience for everyone.”
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, added: “We believe there is a compelling case for making ambitious changes to Waverley which will improve the station for our customers while respecting the history and heritage of this listed structure.
“The Masterplan is a wonderful example of the private and public sectors working closely alongside government to develop innovative and ambitious plans for the capital.
“Waverley has always played a key role in the life of the city and the plans we have unveiled today will help to ensure it continues to do so in the years ahead as we all play our part to revitalise our economy and put the impact of the current pandemic behind us.”
Cllr Adam McVey, leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, concluded: “These concept designs represent a significant next step for the project and for the city. They portray an accessible, connected station fit for the Scotland’s Capital, and we welcome the benefits this will bring to the city centre – and to our residents, commuters and visitors. It’s crucial that the station expands capacity to accommodate the growth in passengers and improves accessibility.
“This will not only help Edinburgh be better connected but help us achieve a more equal, carbon-neutral future, with rail well integrated with bus and tram, pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users and those with other mobility issues.
“As such, we’ll continue to provide input into the development of the Masterplan in the coming months and years. But, equally, we’ll have an important role to play in monitoring and scrutinising the project’s progress, ensuring it conserves our city’s unique heritage and aligns with our own plans for the city centre, whether that be through City Centre Transformation, or developing a wider vision for the Waverley valley.”
Drawing together the rail industry, local and central government and key stakeholders within the city – including accessibility, transport, business and heritage groups – the Masterplan considers not just the station itself, but how it interacts with the wider public realm.
Over the next year, the Masterplan steering group will now commission further technical and engineering studies to develop the plan from this concept stage, particularly to identify the most appropriate roof solution.