Preston Station

By | 6 April 2021

Preston railway station is on the West Coast Main Line, about half-way between Euston railway station and Glasgow Central station, the North Union railway station was opened in 1838. The current station was built in 1880 and extended in 1903 and 1913.

From Preston you can get to London Euston in 2h 47m every day, connecting the south to the north in a matter of hours. It is therefore a station that is both historical as well as an important transport route.
Alongside the elegant 19th century station building the station has a lot of interesting history. The Free Buffet Association fed servicemen 24 hours a day during the First World War there and the waiting room on platform three eatures a plaque that marks where the buffet once stood.

Moving on to something quite different, but another key feature of this historic station, is the glazed gables at the end of the station. These gables were one of the station’s original features. The gables were last updated in the 1960s and were badly rotten and in need of repair.

In July 2019 we were approached by MPH Construction Ltd and Crouch Waterfall to look at a solution to renew the gables. The solution had to be in keeping with the original features, require limited maintenance and be able to stand the test of time. We visited site to look at
possible solutions, wanting to provide a product that was cost effective as well as in keeping with the heritage features of the original gables. Our Multi-Link-Panel solid polycarbonate glazing system with a bespoke rolled aluminium ladder frame and flashing fit the bill.

We formed a great partnership with main contractor MPH, with MPH commenting:

“As a trusted delivery partner Twinfix have worked with MPH on numerous railway station refurbishment schemes. For this scheme the brief from Network Rail was to replace the life expired glazed façade to the gable end of the train shed building. MPH approached Twinfix to propose a replacement façade using light weight sustainable materials that would sympathetically replicate the historic features of the station. Twinfix assisted MPH with achieving the aspiration of the client and the end result speaks for itself.”

Andy Savage, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust said:

“The Railway Heritage Trust gave a grant of £100,000 towards the renewal of the screens at Preston. We are delighted with how this project’s use of modern, Twinfix, materials has enabled the retention of the original appearance of the screen, whilst making it both stronger and safer to maintain in the future. We are particularly pleased at Twinfix going the extra mile in designing and manufacturing bespoke elements of the glazing bars as part of this.”

Many complexities had to be overcome making it a challenging project to work on. Firstly, taking accurate measurements during the survey was difficult due to the steel frame that had twisted over time. However, we paid time and attention on this up-front survey work to ensure that the project ran smoothly, and the product fitted correctly.

An additional design feature was that we had to clamp to some the existing cast steel rather than fix through it. Although time consuming, it was the correct method for the existing metal framework.

Appearance wise the clear polycarbonate that is glazed into the Multi-Link-Panel frame has the same look as glass, so allows light to flood through. Polycarbonate stands no
chance of breaking so a great safety enhancement for the station.

Polycarbonate and aluminium can both be recycled after their long-life span. They are also manufactured from partly recycled material.

A feature that further enhanced the sympathetic refurbishment of the gables was the addition of a moulded detail that featured at the top of the glazing bar, MPH sourced machined high-density material to replicate the timber details. This really complemented the new Multi-Link-Panel gables and ensured they looked as in keeping as possible.

All in all it was a fabulous project to work on and we are delighted with the finished result which is now a long lasting and durable feature of this historic listed station.