Friday, 10 July 2015

A Most Dramatic Station

Oxford Road is Manchester's second busiest station handling over 7 million passengers annually. Rebuilt in 1960 to a design by W.R.Headley and Max Clendinning, it is one of Britain's most
distinctive railway stations. The concourse has a triple conoid shaped roof built from laminated timber. The span ranges from 13 to 29 metres and is supported on a cruck frame. The curved platform canopies compliment the design as do the timber booking office, buffet and staff rooms. Timber was chosen due to weight considerations as the station is elevated on a lengthy viaduct; it was also a cheap material at that time. Close scrutiny of the structure will reveal the skill employed in its construction. The structure has needed frequent maintenance due to leaking and in recent years was supported by scaffolding although this has now been removed. It has been Grade II listed since 1995.

As part of the Northern Hub proposals, Oxford Road is to have considerable investment. The platforms will be lengthened to accommodate 8 coach trains and Platform 5 taken out of use. The concourse will be extended to provide more facilites and new entrances provided from Whitworth Street and the new "Home" arts complex on First Street. The station is set to become busier, handling many more trains and passengers. Network Rail promise to take good care of the famous roof. The buildings around the station approach are soon to be redeveloped in an extensive mixed use project following the re-location of "Cornerhouse"with its cinemas and galleries.

Jumper works at Oxford Road Station where he keeps the pigeons and rodents at bay. He has three companions but they work behind the scenes. Jumper is popular with passengers and famously had a huge amount of food donated when staff made an appeal. One of the cats jumped on a train to Wigan where he was recognised. He was soon sent back to Manchester.

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