Making Waverley better
Edinburgh Waverley station is a mess. It’s cramped, but has space where it’s not needed. Access remains difficult despite recent improvements.
Those improvements have included installing escalators on and a roof above Waverley Steps. More recently, Network Rail commissioned new escalators to the footbridge just in time for the crowds arriving for August’s festival.
Congestion around the main concourse isn’t helped by the constricted flows between it and Waverley Steps, which is the access point from the city’s main thoroughfare, Princes Street.
The constriction comes from fencing surrounding a vehicle turning circle at the bottom of one of the station’s two long access ramps. NR needs the ramps to allow contractors’ vehicles into the station, usually at night. During the day the fences remain to block passenger flow, for no apparent reason.
Ordinary vehicles cannot use the ramps. Nor can cyclists. They must carry their bikes down steps or wheel them along the ramp’s footways, which is a tight squeeze when they encounter wheely suitcases.
Waverley’s empty space is a second concourse that sits by Platform 2 and the Calton Road exit. It’s handy for exhibitions but little else.
Network Rail has now appointed Arup to lead a team creating a masterplan for the station. It’s expected to report next summer. I look forward to seeing the results.