The refurbished Waverley Steps at Edinburgh Waverley Station reopened to the public as the first phase of a multi-million-pound project to overhaul the station’s Princes Street entrance came to an end.
The historic station steps have been rebuilt, and three banks of double escalators installed, as part of a £7m contract to improve access at the station. The new steps and escalators have also been protected from the elements by the construction of a new steel and glass canopy.
The ongoing refurbishment project will also include the construction of a level walkway and two new lifts allowing step-free access between Princes Street and Waverley Station.
Now the step and escalator work is finished, two 16-passenger lifts will be installed, connecting from the roof of the Princes Mall to the platforms below. The new lifts will be completed by July 2012.
David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “The new steps will vastly improve access to the station for passengers, especially less mobile travellers. The refurbishment has delivered a modern gateway to one of the country’s oldest stations which is also sensitive to the heritage and history of the building and those around it.
“Every effort has been made to minimise disruption for passengers, and to maintain access to the facilities of the Princes Mall, while we deliver this important improvement to the station.
“We are now looking forward to completing the second phase of the project and delivering a completely step-free access to the station from one of the Capital’s busiest streets.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown added: “Today marks a significant milestone for Waverley Station. Transport Scotland has invested £7million to date in improving access for all and the makeover for the Princes Street entrance will deliver a timely boost for commuters, shoppers, tourists and retailers.
“Alongside the £25m investment which will transform Haymarket and create a fully accessible station and integrated train, tram, bus and taxi transport hub,
this demonstrates our commitment to improve facilities and access for passengers.”
The Waverley Steps redevelopment has been funded by Transport Scotland and the work has been carried out by main contractor Morgan Sindall.
The steps project is progressing in parallel with Network Rail’s wider improvements to Waverley Station, including reglazing of the station roof, improvements to platforms and future planned improvements to the Market Street entrance and platforms 8 and 9.
Those ongoing works will also require the closure to all vehicles of the station’s north ramp from today, for a period of eight weeks so that structural, water proofing and resurfacing works can be carried out. Pedestrian access to the ramp will be maintained.