Years after it was first mooted, Wakefield’s new Westgate Station welcomed its first passengers on 22nd December, the culmination of a construction project taking 11 months.
The eye-catching building cost £8.1 million, with delivery agent East Coast appointing Network Rail as principal contractor and the Buckingham Group acting as the latter’s design-and-build subcontractor.
Located 200 yards north of the old Westgate, the station forms a key part of the city’s revival strategy, sitting within a redevelopment area which includes offices, apartments and the Council’s striking new headquarters. The building’s alignment draws visitors towards an alternative pedestrian route into the centre via the commercial district.
With 630 square metres of black glazed brickwork, new Westgate’s flowing frontage gives way to a main concourse that features a travel centre with six FastTicket machines, a spacious First Class lounge and four retail outlets. The building is 71% more energy efficient than its predecessor, an improvement achieved by maximising daylight and natural heating, as well as the fitment of a photovoltaic energy generation system on the roof.
Ticket gates have been installed to enhance safety and tackle fare evasion. Access to the northbound platform is significantly improved by the introduction of lifts and an eye-catching golden footbridge, making it easy for everyone to make their way around the station.
On weekdays, Westgate is served by a free city bus between the morning and evening peaks, as well as offering covered accommodation for 30 bikes. Next door is a 900-space multi-storey car park. East Coast operates 33 services from Wakefield to the capital, with the fastest taking just 1 hour 46 minutes.
Report by Graeme Bickerdike
Photo courtesy of Four by Three