Iconic clocktower in Cardiff Central is being revamped as part of rail station refurbishment
Network Rail Wales & Borders engineers have revealed some of Cardiff Central station’s long-lost secrets as they deliver essential refurbishment work.
The work to the Grade II listed art deco station, originally built in 1850 and redesigned in the 1930s, includes specialist cleaning of the Portland stone façade and work to increase the capacity of the roof drainage outlets to make it more weather-proof.
As part of the station upgrade, the famous clock tower is also being refurbished. Drawings uncovered by Network Rail engineers ahead of the work revealed the tower was originally designed to house a ventilation system, with no clock in the design.
The air intake system was later made redundant and four clock faces were incorporated, retaining the architectural feature of the tower and adding purpose for passengers.
The drawings, dated 1933 from Great Western Railways Architects Office, revealed several other changes to the original design, including the addition of three entrances. Part of the station, which now hosts retail outlets, was also dedicated to dining and refreshment facilities with a tea room and beer and wine cellars, to serve the needs of thirsty passengers.
Extensive roof glazing was also incorporated in the original design to allow natural light to enter the booking hall. Still in existence today, these glazed sections of the ceiling are now served by artificial light and the glazed sections of the roof have been infilled with slate to match the adjacent covering.
Chris Wildy, works delivery manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “Our work at Cardiff Central station is progressing well and will help ensure Wales’ busiest station is looking its best at a time when the surrounding area is being transformed by exciting new developments.
“As a listed building, we have been working closely with specialist contractors, local conservation officers and Cadw, to ensure original features including the stone façade are preserved for future generations.
“We thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this work and assure them that we are doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum.”
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, added: “We welcome this investment from Network Rail into Cardiff Central station, improvements such as this are helping us positively transform rail services throughout Wales.
“Clearly, further long-term investment is required in the future and we are working with the Welsh Government, Department for Transport and Cardiff Capital Region City Deal to secure this.”
Temporary scaffolding is in place while the work is undertaken but no passenger disruption will be caused during the refurbishment. The work is expected to be completed by end of April 2019.