York sta­tion to lose its ‘porte’ in a storm

A re­vamp plan will gen­er­ate changes at York. PHILIP HAIGH re­ports

Rail (UK) - - Feature Stations - About the au­thor Philip Haigh, Con­tribut­ing Writer

Aporte cochère is a cov­ered space at a build­ing’s en­trance that al­lows peo­ple to join or leave ve­hi­cles while shel­tered from weather. York has one. New­cas­tle sta­tion fa­mously had one, al­though to­day this is a rather dowdy col­lec­tion of re­tail units and ticket ma­chines. Pas­sen­gers alight­ing from trains must now wait in the open if they want a taxi.

Soon, York pas­sen­gers could be in the same sit­u­a­tion, as City of York Coun­cil plans to shut the sta­tion’s porte cochère to ve­hi­cles, re­mov­ing the rea­son for which the North East­ern Rail­way built it in 1877. It claims its changes will im­prove air qual­ity, al­though you could ar­gue it might do bet­ter to en­cour­age taxi drivers to switch to hy­brid or elec­tric cars rather than force pas­sen­gers to wait out­side in the rain - rain that usu­ally leads to long taxi queues.

Clos­ing the porch­way is one as­pect of the coun­cil’s wider mas­ter­plan to re­de­velop the area around the sta­tion that in­cludes sweep­ing away the curved bridge that car­ries Queen Street up and over the for­mer route into York’s old sta­tion (now oc­cu­pied by the coun­cil’s of­fices), move bus stops fur­ther from the sta­tion and make pro­vi­sion for a multi-storey car park.

York city coun­cil­lor with re­spon­si­bil­ity for trans­port, Peter Dew com­ments: “Trav­el­ling to and from the sta­tion is a far from ideal ex­pe­ri­ence, which­ever mode of trans­port you use. We now have a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to make it much eas­ier to use, es­pe­cially with the sta­tion set for a three­fold in­crease in pas­sen­ger num­bers over the next 30 years.”

Trav­el­ling to and from the sta­tion is a far from ideal ex­pe­ri­ence, which­ever mode of trans­port you use. We now have a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to make it much eas­ier to use. Peter Dew, York City Coun­cil

There’s no doubt that ac­cess to York sta­tion could be im­proved. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion leads to conges­tion around Tea Room Square which forms the en­trance to the short-stay car park and the exit from the porte cochère. Conges­tion isn’t helped by buses halt­ing at stops con­ve­niently out­side the sta­tion for pas­sen­gers but block­ing the view of the road for mo­torists try­ing to leave Tea Room Square.

The coun­cil’s mas­ter­plan com­prises eight stages.

1. De­mol­ish Queen Street Bridge and re­align the road.

2. Move bus stops from im­me­di­ately out­side the porte cochère to fur­ther south op­po­site the old rail­way arches in the city walls.

3. Move the taxi rank and drop-off point from the porte cochère to Par­cel Square, hav­ing de­mol­ished the ex­ten­sion build­ings there (used as a rail staff mess room and for stor­age).

4. Move short-stay car park­ing from its par­tially cov­ered po­si­tion to a space be­tween the sta­tion and the Rail­way In­sti­tute Gym (a space used for park­ing to­day).

5. Move pedes­trian cross­ings from ei­ther side of the sta­tion en­trance to a po­si­tion di­rectly out­side it.

6. Cre­ate a new Sta­tion Square where to­day’s bus stops sit.

7. Trans­form Tea Room Square into a pub­lic space with only lim­ited ac­cess for de­liv­ery lor­ries.

8. En­hance cy­cle routes and park­ing with seg­re­gated cy­cle lanes.

The coun­cil is now con­sid­er­ing pub­lic com­ments fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tion ear­lier in the sum­mer. It plans to im­ple­ment the changes by 2021 and ex­pects to use fund­ing from the Leeds City Re­gion Growth Deal and the West York­shire Plus Trans­port Fund.


An artist’s im­pres­sion of the front of York sta­tion fol­low­ing the city coun­cil’s changes, with the for­mer porte­cochère prom­i­nent in the cen­tre and Tea Room Square to the right.


Look­ing down the ramp from Queen Street bridge, this view shows on the left the ex­ten­sion build­ings that the city coun­cil wants to de­mol­ish to form Par­cel Square and the new taxi rank. These ex­ten­sion build­ings were erected in 1947 re­plac­ing those de­mol­ished in an air raid in 1942. New bus stops will sit roughly un­der the pho­tog­ra­pher’s feet.


This will be the site of the new short-stay car park, with the Rail­way In­sti­tute Gym­na­sium build­ing on the left. The long-stay car park will re­main be­yond the far end of the build­ing with pro­vi­sion to be­come a multi-storey car park.


Queen Street Bridge blocks views of the city walls from ground level. York City Coun­cil plans to de­mol­ish it, re­turn­ing the road to its pre­vi­ous level. If it im­ple­ments its plans, the road in the fore­ground will be­come the exit junc­tion from the sta­tion’s short-stay car park which will sit in space to the left of the Rail­way In­sti­tute Gym­na­sium build­ing which is just vis­i­ble on the left of the pic­ture.


The front of York sta­tion to­day show­ing how the bus stops are con­ve­nient for rail users but also how they block mo­torists’ views of traf­fic ap­proach­ing from Queen Street Bridge, which rises in the back­ground. The city’s walls are to the left be­hind the trees and the porte­cochère is to the right.


This di­a­gram shows the prin­ci­pal el­e­ments of York City Coun­cil’s pro­pos­als for York sta­tion.

Philip was for­merly Busi­ness Ed­i­tor at RAIL, leav­ing in Septem­ber 2013 af­ter spend­ing 16 years with the ti­tle. He has a back­ground in en­gi­neer­ing, and is now a free­lance writer and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to RAIL.

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