We were elated at our invitation to take part in the redevelopment project following the creation of the Irlam Station Strategy and stakeholder partnership which were born in 2011, to bring together the knowledge and resources of Salford City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Network Rail, Northern Rail and Hamilton Davies Trust.
The partnership set to transform the station buildings and the surrounding environment. Work began shortly after reaching an agreement with the owner to lease the Station House. Our aim for the building was to restore this once fine edifice and create the right first impression of Irlam and Cadishead for people passing through, as well as providing some great facilities for rail users and locals alike.
We felt that restoration and reinvention were key here. We wanted to restore the Victorian building by reinstalling some original architectural features (detailed below), alongside the use of modern building materials and techniques to ensure its sustainability, mixing a blend of the past and present.
The reinvention element we felt was to create a destination that local people could use as well as rail users, going beyond the standard facilities of waiting areas and toilets. Working with Thurnall Taverns we designed and created a modern and relaxed café bistro area, with meeting space and free wifi, where people could meet for a business meeting or simply kick back and relax.
Where possible we have tried to follow the 3 R’s of construction (reduce, reuse and recycle) throughout the project, to bring out the following key features:
The Materials and Methods
Slates from the remaining roof were reused alongside those obtained from reclamation yards from buildings of a similar age. The chimneys, a noticeable feature of the roof, were rebuilt using historical photographs from the past as a guide.
The use of modern construction techniques and materials mean the building will be sustainable for many years to come. The brickwork on the extension was matched to the original building, but using an insulated cavity design to improve its thermal efficiency, while the installation of modern heating systems, electrics, LED lighting and data ensures the building is very energy efficient.
The Canopy and Barge Boards
The canopy design replicates detail from the period in which the station was originally constructed, while the barge boards are based on those at other stations along the line.
The Drinking Fountain
A distinguished feature at most Cheshire Lines Committee stations, the drinking fountain was replicated, with time taken to source the correct stone to match the original from 1872, and incorporating the Irlam coat of arms as a central feature.
The design, based on the Soap Works Special passenger train, creates a boothed area within the café bistro where people can meet up, relax, enjoy a spot of lunch and return to the great age of steam.
The transformation of the building was part of a wider project to regenerate the whole site which had also been in a poor state of repair for some time. Other partners were instrumental in providing a new 60 space free car park, motorcycle bays, a cycle hub and dedicated pedestrian walking routes, extensive landscaping, as well as new CCTV and enhanced external lighting with special optics to brighten the car park, providing a safer environment.
Re-opened in March 2015, 122 years to the day since it first opened its doors to the public, Irlam Station now has a new lease of life! The restored Victorian building now sits proudly on the platform and has become a local landmark that is not only used and enjoyed, but is one for the whole community to be proud of!
Whatever the reason for visiting, it is now so much more than a station and provides a safe and enjoyable experience for the local community and the 240,000 rail users who frequent the station each year. We are delighted that Irlam Station has now returned to its former glory! If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re most definitely missing out!