Manchester Oxford Road - low platforms

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Bletchleyite, 13 Oct 2019.

  1. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,010
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Boarded a train at MCO earlier on for the first time in a very long time, and it was quite remarkable just how much of a step up there was (into a Class 195 on P4) - must have been very near a foot.

    Why have the platforms not been increased in height, or at least Harrington humps installed? Does the listed building preclude it?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    I believe the platform structures are listed as with the buildings, perhaps that's why?
     
  4. RAPC

    RAPC Member

    Messages:
    194
    Joined:
    30 May 2010
    Never noticed the step up as being particularly large at MCO as a regular commuter there. Now Salford Central on the other hand is a large step up / down. I’ve had to give elderly travellers assistance to get up on more than one occasion.
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,010
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    The reason it stood out was that I was asked by a couple of airport passengers with large bags to assist them boarding (despite already having about 25kg on my back). I did do this, but it occurred to me then that the step was far larger than usual.
     
  6. Bungle965

    Bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    I've no idea how they still get away with Salford Central, the step up to the train from the platform is exceedingly large.
    Sam
     
  7. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,286
    Joined:
    24 Dec 2009
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Me neither - I will look more closely next time I am there. Salford Central, though, is amazing - almost like being on one of the low-platform continental networks.
     
  8. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

    Messages:
    10,422
    Joined:
    8 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Epsom
    If that is the case, is there any reason that would preclude them from lowering the track? Is there any structure under the track for a reasonable distance on either side of the station - or even below it - which would make this an impossibility?
     
  9. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    No idea, but I guess that could be a solution if it's possible. I'm not sure exactly how the listing works, if it precludes any modern addition even a Harrington hump or not.
     
  10. sw1ller

    sw1ller Established Member

    Messages:
    1,231
    Joined:
    4 Jan 2013
    Chester P4 is the same. I personally think, with such publicly used areas, listed status should be amended to at least include compulsory modernisation. Getting out of the raised drivers cab of a 175 in Chester is starting to take its toll on my knees.
     
  11. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,249
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    The step up at O.R. seems to be particularly high at the East end of platform 4.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,010
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    That was where I was standing, so that makes sense :) I'm sure it was about a foot - it was remarkable at a city centre station where it really should, in 2019, be close to level boarding. Using a wheelchair ramp would have been difficult or impossible, and it was a big step up with a huge bag on my back and one more in each hand! :)

    As an aside it was a train to Ringway and it was full and standing, albeit only a 2-car and a half hour gap in service for some Sunday-related reason.
     
  13. Camden

    Camden Established Member

    Messages:
    1,635
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2014
    Surprised to learn that Manchester Oxford Road is listed (and not listed as in "listed for demolition"). It's an absolute dump in every way!!!

    Surely something purely operational should need to attain truly outstanding status to merit being listed, given the problems that can cause to keeping it properly operational.
     
  14. TheGrew

    TheGrew Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    31 Jul 2012
    Personally I think Oxford Road should be completely rebuilt along with Platform the construction of 15/16 at Piccadilly.
    In my opinion at Oxford road it needs to have 4 fully accessible platforms of at least 160 meters without fouling other platforms. The bay would ideally also be repositioned between the two pairs of through lines to give a resultant configuration near identical to Woking. I think the only way enough space could be acquired to do this though would be to build above Whitworth Street as their are skyscrapers to the south and listed buildings to the East.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    44,010
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I agree. It is somewhat run-down (though at least the bogs aren't now a druggie's hangout, prevented I guess by the barriers) and a new station could be built with the same kind of design to remain in keeping.
     
  16. BucksBones

    BucksBones Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    18 Jul 2017
    Aw, that’s a bit harsh. That 1960s architecture is unique and, I’d say, beautiful. The reason it looks rubbish now is years of neglect.

    I agree that the punitive planning conditions around listed structures are problematic but I’m sure that it would be possible to sympathetically bring the station into the 21st century. A decent architect could incorporate the 1960s buildings and make it look amazing.
     
  17. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

    Messages:
    10,422
    Joined:
    8 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Epsom
    This would be a very sensible approach; I certainly can't see raising the height of the platforms would change the character of the building, especially if the visible parts like extra courses of brick on the edges were done with a matching material.
     
  18. BucksBones

    BucksBones Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    18 Jul 2017
    I wouldn’t have thought the listed status of the station buildings has anything to do with the platform height though - isn’t that just because nobody has ever bothered to do anything about it?
     
  19. Geeves

    Geeves Member

    Messages:
    976
    Joined:
    6 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Rochdale
    So far as I know its only the main station building that is listed. The rest is not original anyway. It will all be adjusted if the station gets un-Greylinged.
     
  20. BucksBones

    BucksBones Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    18 Jul 2017
    The listing states
    “Manchester Oxford Road Station (including platform structures)”

    So I’d have thought platform canopies as well.

    Saying that, it’s only grade 2 so surely plenty of scope for smartening up and raising platforms.
     
  21. BucksBones

    BucksBones Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    18 Jul 2017
    Does, or will, PRM legislation have any impact on platform heights?
     
  22. Bungle965

    Bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    The entrance of Caley Street gives nothing away that it is the second busiest station in Manchester.
    Sam
     
  23. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

    Messages:
    773
    Joined:
    2 May 2014
    Location:
    Epsom
    There is often a conflict between modern PRM requirements and older buildings, it’s usually a matter of compromise. With stations it’s often the footbridge that causes the main problem. Replacing an old structure with a modern bridge with lifts and giving full electrification clearance often makes quite a change. I do know of one case where both sides of the argument became so entrenched in their views and objections to any proposals that the only option left was to close the station as it would not meet legal requirements without modifications to the listed structure. Happily, common sense prevailed and closure didn’t happen.

    I would have thought that the platforms themselves would not be of great architectural interest - unlike the buildings - so it should be possible to raise them. It could, of course, be that there are civil engineering problems that affect this, like platforms being higher than damp courses if they are raised, but such issues are not normally insurmountable.
     
  24. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,249
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    The buildings and canopies etc are an excellent and very attractive design. Yes, the woodwork needs some TLC and the facilities could be better (the buffet always seems to be closed), but the fabric of the buildings is fine.

    Indeed. The new enclosed shelters at the end of platforms 2 and 3 are an example of this. As to why they wouldn't be allowed to raise the East end of platform 4, I don't know. Perhaps its something structural to do with the viaduct rather than aesthetic.

    I agree your point about listing conditions sometimes being overly onerous. I overheard the cafe owners in Wakefield Kirkgate saying that they were prevented from having a hot plate and extractor fan. Whilst the station is listed, its not as though they're cooking a fry-up in York Minster.
     
  25. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

    Messages:
    1,866
    Joined:
    31 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Lancashire
    The listing is for the wooden constructed main building and canopies only, because of their form of construction
     
  26. Foggycorner

    Foggycorner Member

    Messages:
    131
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2016
    Location:
    bolton
    the whole of Oxford Road station is built on viaducts and the pway like to put as much ballast depth on as possable they really don't care about pasangers climbing on and off trains
     
  27. lancastria

    lancastria Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    4 Jul 2017
    Location:
    North and London
    This would be massively expensive! Why spend money when MOR already has four through platforms?

    MOR is beautiful and unique; there is no other station like it in the UK. It reminds me of Sydney Opera House.
    It's a beautiful and intelligent solution to a demanding site; the arches beneath the station, which are very nearly Georgian, cannot support a huge weight, and that's why the architects used laminated wood in the 1959 rebuild with the roof being three cones joined together.
    I always found it worked fine as a station, and now currently it has over 8 million passengers. Is there a pressing operational need to rebuild? Or an aesthetic one?
     
  28. Concrete Loz

    Concrete Loz Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    4 Sep 2018
    The east end of platform 4 is certainly lower than the west end. A couple of weeks ago I witnessed a poor chap underestimate the step down from a class 319 and hit the deck pretty hard. He certainly wasn't a person with reduced mobility (at least not before the fall). Anyway, he was lucky not to fall down the gap between the train and platform too. Quite astonishing that a busy station like this has such a hazard.

    Unfortunately, modifying platform heights and offsets just isn't as simple as it might seem. This has probably ended up in the 'too hard/expensive pile' at NR. If you lift the platform edge the cross fall gradient can easily become too steep. If you raise the level at the back of the platform to compensate, it starts to affect building thresholds and surface water drainage. Raising the height of the platform riser wall (the bit that supports the copers) can also be problematic with certain types of construction, especially if they're in poor condition. Lowering track over the arches is unlikely to be feasible due to limited ballast depth, and besides, the proximity to S&C at both ends of Oxford Rd would probably turn a track lowering scheme into a complex and extensive renewal project. Then you've got the problem of finding the time to close platform 4 at Oxford Road for long enough to actually do the work.

    The whole lot (platforms, track, footbridge and canopies - everything except the main building) was due to be ripped out and renewed by the Northern Hub programme during a full closure of the station. I expect the station was neglected for many years waiting for a major project like that to sort out all the issues. Unfortunately there's now little sign of this happening any time soon.

    I'm fairly certain the platforms themselves at Oxford Road aren't listed, only the laminated timber main building and canopies. Even if the platforms were listed, passenger safety would always take priority over a listing, and a sympathetic modification could be designed to satisfy the planners.
     
  29. Mogster

    Mogster Member

    Messages:
    322
    Joined:
    25 Sep 2018
    As a twice daily user Oxford Road is a complete dump. Facilities on the central island are almost non existent. The platforms are short and become overcrowded, the covered area is even shorter causing people to crowd at the base of the stairwell. It’s freezing up on the viaduct and the waiting room is tiny with ridiculous end doors that are mostly broken.

    If possible I’d like the wooden roof and platform canopies to stay, everything else needs ripping out and a fresh start.
     
  30. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

    Messages:
    13,511
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    Chester P7, the Merseyrail 3rd rail platform, is equally low but is being rebuilt as we speak for the new Stadler class 777 trains.
    When I passed through on Monday it was not obvious how much of the very long platform would be rebuilt (the 3rd rail extends the full length).
    Nor was it clear if the platform would be raised or just re-edged (the huge coping stones had been removed).
    We could end up with a very odd setup at Chester if P7 is only partially raised.
     
  31. js1000

    js1000 Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    14 Jun 2014
    ^^^ This. It's an unusual station. It's just a shame the internal layout is so lousy with toilets, ticket office, central cafe etc. It needs a de-clutter. Remove the cafe and put the ticket office where the tuck shop is on the right hand side before the ticket gates. It'll free up the internal space and allow the main roof to be appreciated rather than hidden/neglected. Keep the main roof and platform canopies. And potentially if the station is upgraded the original renders looked quite sympathetic with gentle timber roof to mirror the original.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2019

Share This Page