Manchester's Piccadilly Station is undergoing a £77M refurbishment. By the time the Commonwealth Games start in the summer of 2002, the station will have been completely revitalised.
Contractor Laing has completed the first £27M stage of the works. The race is on to complete the second stage in time for the games.
Since 1984 the station has been owned by Railtrack, which is investing most of the total £77M redevelopment cost. Small grants have also come from the European Regional Development Fund and the Railway Heritage Trust.
The biggest single operation in the first phase was reconstruction of the roof. This 18 month job, installing 10,000 panes of glass over 12,000m was completed last November at a cost of £16M The contract was especially difficult as the station had to remain operational and involved a complicated temporary works system.
To access the roof, a scaffold crash-deck working platform was erected during night possessions of the platforms. The scaffolding contract alone was worth £4.5M.
As the roof was in effect being lowered, there were concerns that in the event of a fire, smoke would not be able to escape. The Railtrack fire safety officer would therefore only allow 70% to be decked out at any one time.
Diesel extract fans were also built into the temporary works at 60m centres.
As cranes could not slew across the track all roof materials had to be 'handballed' across the crash deck. All the purlins and glass panels were designed to be moved by hand.
Laing project manager Terry Williams, says, 'The problems on the second stage are in some ways bigger than those encountered for the roof. There are 50,000 people a day passing through the station concourse, and we have to keep it open while we knock it down and rebuild it.'