The demand for rail travel from Manchester’s Piccadilly station has increased so much that car drivers are regularly turned away from the multi storey car park because it is full. Network Rail is tackling the problem by creating an extra 263 spaces.
Built in time for the Commonwealth Games that were held in Manchester in 2002, the existing multi storey car park and level deck alongside the station have 592 spaces in total.
However, that is no longer enough as Liz Ratcliffe, Network Rail’s commercial manager (retail) explains: “When the car park was built, there were plenty of spaces for everyone. What couldn’t have been predicted at the time was the phenomenal growth in demand for rail travel right across the country.
“That, plus the increase to three trains an hour to and from London from the end of 2008 means that on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays we frequently have to turn cars away.
“While our passenger satisfaction surveys are always very positive, the recurring theme is the lack of spaces at peak periods, which is why we are extending the car park.”
The extension is being built using pre-cast concrete. When completed the entire car park, including the original building, will be clad in a structural steel that weathers to a natural brown colour over a period of time.
It has been used successfully on other buildings in Manchester and is seen as a good choice of material for a structure adjacent to the brick warehouses and the station.
It also provides savings for Network Rail as it is a low-maintenance material that doesn’t need painting or cleaning, which will help the company meet its cost efficiency targets.
The existing car park holds a Park Mark safer parking award, and Network Rail will apply for the entire car park to be re-assessed so that motorists can park in the knowledge that they are leaving their cars in a safe and secure environment.
The extended car park will be entered into the British Parking Awards and will also be considered for a number of design and architecture awards.
Design work was carried out by the Leeds office of Aedas
The extension work was competitively tendered
The contract was won by SCC Ltd of Reddish, Stockport, Cheshire
The project represents an investment in the station by Network Rail of £4.2m
Work started in March and is expected to be completed in July 2012