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Old November 18th, 2009, 12:29 AM   #41
Andrew
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I've been thinking about Central Station and in my opinion, the one thing that could be done which would give the station and surrounding area the biggest boost is a tunnel under the station running from the Metro station linking all the platforms with an exit on the south side. However, for it to really work it needs to be done properly.

Now, I think as far as our standards go, Newcastle Central Station isn't bad, but on the whole, in my opinion we really are rubbish at doing interchanges in this country - they're usually poorly designed and not nice places to be. One thing I noticed on my travels in East Asia is that they are light years ahead of us when it comes to integrating public transport hubs with the surrounding streets and buildings; making them an integral part of the city fabric. They're also excellent at making stations (both underground and mainline) places worth going to. In places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea, main interchanges are almost always packed with shops and are places that are busy (and crucially, feel safe) well into the night.

In my opinion, Newcastle Central station needs something more like what I've seen in Asia. I'll illustrate my idea with a couple of images I've put together.

Firstly, I've drawn onto a google earth image where I think a pedestrian subway should go under the station. It really needs to go from the Metro station concourse all the way through to the south side of the station and a new entrance created there with an additional ticket office etc. This new access to the station would do wonders to improve the public transport accessibility level of the Stephenson Quarter, making it more attractive to prospective tenants of the development there as well as potentially spur further development. I think it would also encourage more people who live or work south of the station to travel by train or Metro if they have direct access that's pleasant and safe rather than through the dark tunnels that exist currently.

image hosted on flickr


Secondly, for such a pedestrian subway to really be successful and encourage more people to travel by train and Metro, as well as improve the atmosphere and facilities available at the station, there must be space made available in the tunnel itself for shops. The added benefit of this is that Nexus and/or Network Rail could be recouping some of the costs of construction by the leasing of retail space in the passage.

This is not a particularly great bit of photoshopping, but in the image below I have pasted a photo I took of an underground shopping mall which ran from a station in a small city in Korea onto a photo I took of the Metro ticket hall looking south. It's meant to illustrate my idea of how such a link could work.

image hosted on flickr


Clearly, doing something like this is not simple. I'm not trying to suggest as such. Nor am I trying to suggest that we simply build Korean style underground shopping malls in Newcastle. But what I am suggesting is that if the political will was there to implement real improvements, I think this is one very reasonable way of doing just that. It certainly wouldn't be the cheapest option, but I think it would definitely be an effective one.

Just for comparison, here is the new entrance that Leeds station is supposed to be getting:


And another example from Singapore of how the Asians integrate retail space into transport interchanges:


What does everyone think of this? I think when discussion on this idea runs out, I'll mention the next of my ideas for improvements to Newcastle's public transport offer.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 12:40 AM   #42
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That sounds like a good idea Andrew - and would obviously improve access to the Stephenson Quarter. I am sure there has been an idea to do this, and was discussed on here a few months back, but i don't know where the money would come from.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #43
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I agree - good ideas, and especially the need for a southern entrance to the station. Surely it would be in developers' interests to contribute to such a project! As for retail, I think thet Newcastle Central could certainly do with a bit more, but we ought to be careful not to go down the 'airport' route where passenger terminals are turning into gigantic malls interspersed with a few check-in desks. The worst railway station for this, in my view, is Birmingham New Street, and the bits of St Pancras that I've seen are much along the same lines. The best balance, perhaps, is Manchester Piccadilly: plenty of facilities, but it still feels primarily a station, where people go to travel rather than to fill the pockets of the retail sector.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #44
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I think thats a great idea Andrew, I just can't ever see it getting integrated. I think if they were ever going to make a new entrance to the south of the station it would be at ground level and include some kind of bridges similar to what already exist within the station.

However, your idea, in my opinion, would be a lot more beneficial to create as it would feel like it was welcoming to both Metro and mainline train users. It would also provide a way for people to quickly 'cut through' the station from Stephenson Quarter to Neville Street.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #45
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That looks like a good idea. As you say stations in Asia are light years ahead.

I remember reading on some other forum that there's already some sort of tunnel/big open area under the central, with it being closed off to the public (Probably an urban myth). I think something to do with the Royal Mail was mentioned.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #46
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I remember an idea of a tunnel under the station mentioned a while back but not heard anything since.

If it ever happens I'd want to see all the current shops moved from the concourse into this new passageway and the current concourse area cleared up.

In fact make this tunnel the main hub of the station with ticket office, shops, toilets, metro station, main entrances, etc. With a new entrance on both sides of the station the portico can be turned into an outdoor restaurant.

Further on in my evil plan I'd tear up the car park and with the current concourse now empty link up the bay platforms into long through platforms. Believe it or not 400 metre long platforms are quite simple to do at Newcastle Central. These obviously wouldn't be needed for a while but when they are they'd be there. And in the meantime you could link up local services to provide a kind of RER network.

E.g. Newcastle-Morpeth trains linked up with Newcastle-Hexham trains.

Not all of the car park would need to go of course, the last bit can be turned into a new taxi rank. And where the taxi's currently go build a bus station.

I'd also like to see the odd looking shed on the south side of the station replaced with something better. I just think it looks bleak and tatty compared to the other sheds.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salif View Post
I remember an idea of a tunnel under the station mentioned a while back but not heard anything since.

If it ever happens I'd want to see all the current shops moved from the concourse into this new passageway and the current concourse area cleared up.

In fact make this tunnel the main hub of the station with ticket office, shops, toilets, metro station, main entrances, etc. With a new entrance on both sides of the station the portico can be turned into an outdoor restaurant.

Further on in my evil plan I'd tear up the car park and with the current concourse now empty link up the bay platforms into long through platforms. Believe it or not 400 metre long platforms are quite simple to do at Newcastle Central. These obviously wouldn't be needed for a while but when they are they'd be there. And in the meantime you could link up local services to provide a kind of RER network.

E.g. Newcastle-Morpeth trains linked up with Newcastle-Hexham trains.

Not all of the car park would need to go of course, the last bit can be turned into a new taxi rank. And where the taxi's currently go build a bus station.

I'd also like to see the odd looking shed on the south side of the station replaced with something better. I just think it looks bleak and tatty compared to the other sheds.
I agree, and by moving most of the facilities into a new space under the platforms it would be possible to get rid of the clutter on the main station concourse at ground level, restoring more of the station's historic appeal.

Also, if what I have drawn on as a tunnel was actually a wider space, many more facilities could be placed down there and it could be more closely integrated with the Metro station, allowing not only a seamless interchange, but also providing warm, comfortable places to wait for trains, get food etc. I'd probably also want to open up the underground space a bit by taking out the road from the portico, enclosing the entire space with glass, and partly knocking through the ground to create a large multi-level atrium allowing natural light to flood down into the basement concourse. This would also allow there to be multiple entrances and exits to the underground part and would allow huge potential for cafe areas etc.

Now, with all the existing clutter removed from the platforms, I'd probably put back a few small period style wood framed structures for snack bars, small waiting rooms, toilets etc, but I'd want them to be small, smart and in keeping with the station architecture. Something like what was there in the old photos of the station, but probably smaller, more strategically placed and less of them so as not to clutter up the space again:



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Old November 19th, 2009, 12:34 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
I agree, and by moving most of the facilities into a new space under the platforms it would be possible to get rid of the clutter on the main station concourse at ground level, restoring more of the station's historic appeal.

Also, if what I have drawn on as a tunnel was actually a wider space, many more facilities could be placed down there and it could be more closely integrated with the Metro station, allowing not only a seamless interchange, but also providing warm, comfortable places to wait for trains, get food etc. I'd probably also want to open up the underground space a bit by taking out the road from the portico, enclosing the entire space with glass, and partly knocking through the ground to create a large multi-level atrium allowing natural light to flood down into the basement concourse. This would also allow there to be multiple entrances and exits to the underground part and would allow huge potential for cafe areas etc.

Now, with all the existing clutter removed from the platforms, I'd probably put back a few small period style wood framed structures for snack bars, small waiting rooms, toilets etc, but I'd want them to be small, smart and in keeping with the station architecture. Something like what was there in the old photos of the station, but probably smaller, more strategically placed and less of them so as not to clutter up the space again:

Sure you want WOOD, Andrew?

SEE . . . https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=135

(Just joking!)



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Last edited by Newcastle Historian; November 19th, 2009 at 12:51 AM.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 01:07 AM   #49
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i don't agree with making the whole concourse underground, i think that would be horrible tbh. a big grand space like the station interior should be used and not just admired as if a museum. However joining together the platforms at either side of the ticket office is a solid idea. Platforms 9 and 10 would join up to 1, with part of the longstay carpark used to offer one extra-length platform. there'd need to be extra space found though. i'd close the portico to traffic, glaze it, turn it into an indoor concourse and instead have pick up/taxi service in the carpark.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #50
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I absolutely love the idea of having wood structures within the station.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 05:32 PM   #51
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I agree that the station could be spruced up but going underground is a bad idea. You've only got to look down the road to Sunderland Station and see how horrid it can look.

I think our problem is that things have just been added and added and the station is a mess. All those 'cabins' just clutter the place up and don't get me started on the ticket barriers.

I'd get rid of the horrible booking office and create a new building where you can buy tickets and then go through to the trains and then have a nice area with all the cafes and stuff. Would be far better than the mish-mash we have now.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #52
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I agree that the station could be spruced up
I know some people want wooden structures but are we not getting a bit over-specific?
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Old November 19th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
I've been thinking about Central Station and in my opinion, the one thing that could be done which would give the station and surrounding area the biggest boost is a tunnel under the station running from the Metro station linking all the platforms with an exit on the south side. However, for it to really work it needs to be done properly.

Now, I think as far as our standards go, Newcastle Central Station isn't bad, but on the whole, in my opinion we really are rubbish at doing interchanges in this country - they're usually poorly designed and not nice places to be. One thing I noticed on my travels in East Asia is that they are light years ahead of us when it comes to integrating public transport hubs with the surrounding streets and buildings; making them an integral part of the city fabric. They're also excellent at making stations (both underground and mainline) places worth going to. In places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea, main interchanges are almost always packed with shops and are places that are busy (and crucially, feel safe) well into the night.

In my opinion, Newcastle Central station needs something more like what I've seen in Asia. I'll illustrate my idea with a couple of images I've put together.

Firstly, I've drawn onto a google earth image where I think a pedestrian subway should go under the station. It really needs to go from the Metro station concourse all the way through to the south side of the station and a new entrance created there with an additional ticket office etc. This new access to the station would do wonders to improve the public transport accessibility level of the Stephenson Quarter, making it more attractive to prospective tenants of the development there as well as potentially spur further development. I think it would also encourage more people who live or work south of the station to travel by train or Metro if they have direct access that's pleasant and safe rather than through the dark tunnels that exist currently.

image hosted on flickr


Secondly, for such a pedestrian subway to really be successful and encourage more people to travel by train and Metro, as well as improve the atmosphere and facilities available at the station, there must be space made available in the tunnel itself for shops. The added benefit of this is that Nexus and/or Network Rail could be recouping some of the costs of construction by the leasing of retail space in the passage.

What a shame this happened . . . (or "didn't" happen) . .

Evening Chronicle, Thursday September 27th 2007.

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Old November 19th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #54
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i'd settle for a Forth Street entrance at this point. While not as big a boost as the comprehensive plans posted above, it would help the area south of the station.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #55
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Nothing wrong with underground passenger facilities - you do know Sunderland/Birmingham New Street aren't bad because they're underground - but because they are just shit don't you?

I've been in stations like Amsterdam Centraal, Berlin Obf, Paris Gare du Nord and Paris Gare de Lyon where much of their facilities are under the platforms and they look great. Especially at Gare du Nord where it's like they've got Eldon Square under the platforms. It's absolutely massive, you come into the station in the new entrance which has TGV platforms to the left, regional platforms straight on and then a massive opening with stairs and escalators leading down several levels. And you can see all these levels - it's like St Pancras but bigger.

The above paper clipping is why we need to be able to raise money ourselves in the region. This is very affordable and will provide a massive improvement to a potentially great but ultimately messy area. It links things up nicely rather then the confused obstacle course we have now.

Another thing I'd add is to add a drop off/pick up points for cars underneath the station on Orchard Street. Would require some rebuilding but would get cars away from the main area. Could link straight into the new passageway.

Where Andrew has the start of the new passageway should be a new main entrance with a large pedestrian space in front of it. And yeah, it should definitely link to the metro concourse, in fact I'd say it should just be absorbed into this larger facility.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 09:00 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Salif View Post
Nothing wrong with underground passenger facilities - you do know Sunderland/Birmingham New Street aren't bad because they're underground - but because they are just shit don't you?

I've been in stations like Amsterdam Centraal, Berlin Obf, Paris Gare du Nord and Paris Gare de Lyon where much of their facilities are under the platforms and they look great. Especially at Gare du Nord where it's like they've got Eldon Square under the platforms. It's absolutely massive, you come into the station in the new entrance which has TGV platforms to the left, regional platforms straight on and then a massive opening with stairs and escalators leading down several levels. And you can see all these levels - it's like St Pancras but bigger.

The above paper clipping is why we need to be able to raise money ourselves in the region. This is very affordable and will provide a massive improvement to a potentially great but ultimately messy area. It links things up nicely rather then the confused obstacle course we have now.

Another thing I'd add is to add a drop off/pick up points for cars underneath the station on Orchard Street. Would require some rebuilding but would get cars away from the main area. Could link straight into the new passageway.

Where Andrew has the start of the new passageway should be a new main entrance with a large pedestrian space in front of it. And yeah, it should definitely link to the metro concourse, in fact I'd say it should just be absorbed into this larger facility.
Actually I think there is an intrinsic advantage to above ground stations with the qualities of space and light and historic or cutting edge architecture. No matter how good you make a subterranean addition it's never going to be that great. An eldon square under the platforms would be, to me, a criticism and not a compliment. I don't like eldon square. i dont want to see it replicated at central station.

As for the Gare du Nord addtion, the best bit of that - the escalators, is only sunken and not completely covered therefore has space and light. even then it is not as nice as the historic trainshed. And once you get to the covered bits it is ordinary at the best of times and claustraphobic at rush hour.

Don't get me wrong, I am in support of an underground section with extra facilities but i really am against the entire concourse being moved underground. The station is fine as it is (we don't yet need extra platforms) apart from the issue of an extra entrance which should be on the south side, with tunnels under the platforms and a bigger concourse linking in with the Metro, with extra ticketing, shop and info facilities. that shouldnt mean getting rid of the existing above ground facilities though as the two should complement one another. Those coming from the neville street entrance can use the existing stuff and those from the south or Metro would be more inclined to use the new facilities.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 09:23 PM   #57
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The current layout at Central is far too cluttered and is in desperate need of clearing. At the moment the overall quality of the station suffers because of this - putting everything underground is the only answer. There just isn't the room to scrunch everything up on that one small area.

And I didn't necessarily mean more platforms, but more through platforms (by linking up the bay platforms meaning that technically there'd be less platforms) to eventually accommodate the double set high speed trains which will hopefully reach Newcastle.

Sorry but currently Central station is poor and is in desperate need of modernisation. It's not a museum to be gawped at, but you can still do that when you ascend on the escalators to the platforms. Underground needn't be feared - it's not like you're descending to the fiery pits of hell. Cities need underground facilities for a very good reason and this is one of those cases.

Last edited by Salif; November 19th, 2009 at 09:31 PM.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #58
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The current layout at Central is far too cluttered and is in desperate need of clearing. At the moment the overall quality of the station suffers because of this - putting everything underground is the only answer. There just isn't the room to scrunch everything up on that one small area.

And I necessarily mean more platforms, but more through platforms to eventually accommodate the double set high speed trains which will hopefully reach Newcastle.

Sorry but currently Central station is poor and is in desperate need of modernisation. It's not a museum to be gawped at, but you can still do that when you ascend on the escalators to the platforms. Underground needn't be feared - it's not like you're descending to the fiery pits of hell. Cities need underground facilities for a very good reason and this is one of those cases.
I disagree that it is poor, i use it all the time and can see little wrong with it for current needs (apart from the southern entrance as already stated). If i had a choice between the current set up or a main underground concourse i'd take the former and actually think the latter would make the station worse rather than improve it. as for cluttered - it is cluttered in the old photos taken above - actually more so! I don't think it is terrible simply because the sheer space of the train sheds overwhelms amy small stalls set up relatively discreetly against walls or alongside the bridge. And again, it's a more spacious situation than an underground space lined with shops.

The only thing I would like to add is a small food store such as a Simply Food such as the one in Edinburgh, which could fit into the space currently used by Newcastle Hero as there is simply no need for two pubs and the centurion is bigger and better. alternatively a larger underground space could be built, but again, i wouldnt want it to be made the main concourse but complementary.

Last edited by johnnypd; November 19th, 2009 at 09:48 PM.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 10:58 PM   #59
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I know some people want wooden structures but are we not getting a bit over-specific?
I agree, it doesn't need major work, I've been in far worse stations and I don't think wooden structures would necessarily be the answer. Like I said I'd build something new which, while complementing the original features, would allow the station to remove all the little huts clogging up the concourse.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 11:02 PM   #60
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reckon Wilf was having a laugh at the use of the word 'spruced'
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