Looking at Buildings

Building Types

Through Stations

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Rugeley Station

In the 1830s and 1840s trains were still infrequent, and could generally be handled at a single platform. A typical example is Rugeley (now demolished). On other lines, such as the Great Western Railway, a twin-platform arrangement was more common, often sheltered by train sheds of a modest size.

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Cambridge Station

The early single-platform type can still be seen at Cambridge, where one immensely long platform handles all through trains. The station building of 1845, by Francis Thompson for the Eastern Counties Railway, is a simple and uncompromising brick design in the style of 15th-century Florence, with fifteen large arches in the central block. These were originally open, to allow road vehicles to pass through - an arrangement called a porte-cochère - and another arcadeGlossary Term on the railway side, since infilled, sheltered the trains.

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Newcastle Central Station
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Preston Station

At the through station at Newcastle upon Tyne the platforms are enclosed within the first of the great iron and glass train sheds. It was built for the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway in 1845-50 to designs by the great Newcastle architect John Dobson, who invented a new method of making curved roof ribs by means of passing the wrought ironGlossary Term between bevelled rollers. The train shed is also curved along its length, with a radius of 800 feet (243 metres) determined by the railway lines that snake through the very congested hillside site. The result is utilitarian but extremely graceful, with barely a reference to the forms of traditional architecture (though a mighty classicalGlossary Term building was also provided to house the offices and waiting rooms, facing on to the street). Passengers cross the tracks by a footbridge within the train shed.

Preston station was rebuilt in the late 1870s for the London & North Western Railway and Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, to designs by the Preston firm of Cooper & Tullis. It also has a grand train shed - here of four parallel spans - but the access is managed differently, by means of a large station block set above and across the platforms.

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Midland Station

A similar system of access was used at the Nottingham station of the Midland Railway, as rebuilt in 1904, by A.E. Lambert. The station building is raised above the running lines and fronted by a big porte-cochère. A broad concourse behind leads to an iron and timber bridge spanning the platforms, which have individual shelters - unimpressive by the standards of Preston.


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