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not been allowed for in the design. The use of specialist communications systems by emergency services must also be addressed in the design of the facilities. Power sup- plies for all these systems must be secure and reliable.


Maintenance of both the fabric and equip- ment of the station must not be neglected at the design stage. Apart from the usual requirements for waste disposal and the provision of robust surfaces that make for easy cleaning, pity such visitors as the window cleaner, who may be required to reach large and very tall structures. Safe ac- cess for cleaning and glazing replacement must be built into the design. Remember too that escalators and lifts may have to be withdrawn from service for maintenance or renewal, so additional facilities must be available under these conditions.


We should not forget that a station has to have trains in it. Careful planning is essen- tial to get the right layout to accommodate the type and volume of trains expected. With a design life of at least 60 years, the layout must be flexible and must allow for future expansion. The folly of providing only four platforms for the Midland Main Line at St Pancras is already apparent and the restriction on the capacity here will become worse when the line is eventually electrified throughout.

The type of service provided will affect ca- pacity at stations. At a through station with a mix of local and commuter services, com- bined with long distance trains, the layout of the station needs to combine efficient train movements and the shortest uncon- strained passenger flows possible through

© Amanda Slater

the facilities and to and from the modal change areas.

At a terminus, turnround time is impor- tant. For commuter type trains, it is reason- able to expect a train to be ‘turned round’ or reversed in 10 minutes but this time will double for a long distance train needing re- supplying with food, drink, water and toi- letries. Remember too, the time taken for each train to clear the platform and access route plus the time for the next train to oc- cupy the platform must be allowed for.


Many stations now incorporate gated bar- riers, dividing the station into ‘paid’ and ‘unpaid’

areas. The whole question of

gates is emotionally charged: passengers who pay their fare regard barriers as an obstruction and an unwritten accusation that they cannot be trusted. Less frequent travellers see them as difficult and many do not understand how to use them. Gate de- sign in general leaves much to be desired, with sluggish operation, unreliable perfor- mance, non-universal ticket recognition and too few units to cope with peak-hour traffic. Railway operators regard them as hugely beneficial, since it has been shown that, after they have been installed, fraud is reduced and income increased, with ad- ditional benefits experienced in terms of station security. More needs to be done to encourage acceptance by users.

Do not forget the staff

A station forming a part of a city hub is a major employer and most major stations are open 24 hours a day. As a rule, each job that must be staffed 24 hours requires the employment of five persons. Some jobs will involve temporary or part-time attend- ance at the station and staff movements

and changes will be frequent. There will be permanently employed staff for the station operation and, probably, contract staff for maintenance and cleaning, personnel of the operating companies, retail staff and separate units for policing and security and they all have different needs in terms of the station environment. Emergency services must also be considered when designing access to the site and any special facilities provided for them.

Train crews, for example, will require ac- commodation at large stations, some being permanently based there, but some requir- ing only facilities for personal needs breaks or as waiting areas. Their facilities should be as close to platforms as possible to re- move excessive walking time from their duty periods.

Managing and providing facilities for the large permanent and transient staff popu- lation forms an essential part of a station’s operation. The station will need full and complete facilities for them, including con- trol rooms, rest areas, offices, bathrooms, storage, training equipment and confer- ence rooms. All these facilities must de- signed to be secure and easily inspected, if the station is to work effectively and safety.

A brief summary

For a station to function as part of a sig- nificant city hub, good architecture and design are essential but the choice of struc- ture and facilities must be founded on the underlying principles of how passengers, staff and third parties behave. Providing simple free-flowing circulatory areas is a key element in assuring the main function of a station: boarding, alighting and trans- ferring within and between nodes. Today, these basic principles are becoming ever more important as the sheer volume of us- ers is threatening the performance of many British stations.

This paper was developed by the authors on the basis of a presentation made to the delegates attending the Intelligent City Forum held in Birmingham on 26 May 2011, sponsored by Rail Champions. Piers Connor

Felix Schmid FOR MORE INFORMATION rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11 | 81

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