Leeds High Speed 2 (HS2) station must be properly integrated with the Network Rail station, according to a Leeds council boss.
Passengers arriving at the HS2 station in Leeds “cannot have two separate experiences” when connecting to Network Rail services Leeds City Council chief officer for economic development Angela Barnicle has said.
The new HS2 station will be built as part of phase 2b, which is due to be opened in 2033, and will adjoin the existing Network Rail station in a T shape. The existing station was “significantly” rebuilt in 2002, however further expansion is now required to meet growing demand at the station.
Speaking at an HS2 conference in Birmingham, Barnicle said the two stations needed to have a “holistic” approach and be properly integrated.
“HS2 does not wholly dependent on the success of the classic station [existing Network Rail station] but the rail network cannot provide two separate experiences for passengers,” she said. “This is an integrated station and when you step off at the HS2 station, you don’t then go through a classic station door and go through into what was 2018.
“This is about delivering an integrated and holistic experience for every rail passenger and the classic station certainly isn’t a world class experience for people like Channel 4, Burberry and Reed Smith [which are relocating to Leeds] who have bought into the vision that we are going to deliver that for Network Rail.”
A masterplan for the refurbishment of the existing station, led by Atkins and a team including Gensler and Bam, was published in November last year. However, the upgrade project is on the Network Rail list of projects which is seeking private funding, and remains unfunded.
The situation mirrors that of Euston Station in London for which the existing Network Rail side has also not yet secured funding for its redevelopment.
Barnicle said market research had shown there were a number of companies interested in funding the upgrade scheme.
“Through the MLP [market led proposal] process we have also done some testing for finance, and you have to take market testing with a pinch of salt, but there certainly was a lot of interest there for private finance,” she said.
As part of the upgrade, the existing timber southern concourse roof for the Network Rail station is due to be replaced with a new transparent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof. In a bid to increase capacity a new platform 0 will also be built at the station.
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