Altrincham Interchange – Development or Destruction? ….

Posted on February 15th, 2010, by The Chairman

End of the line for station canopies?

That’s the headline in the Altrincham Messenger about the redevelopment plans for Altrincham Interchange.

To read the article complete with a picture of our very own Andrew Macfarlane, click here.

What do you think?

Please leave a comment

  1. David Olliver, Altrincham Says:

    I saw in Thursday’s Messenger the front page spread regarding Altrincham Interchange.

    I have felt for many years the stupidity of the layout of the Bus Station and the appalling facade (now) of Altrincham Station.

    I have written a letter to the Messenger expressing these views: briefly I have said there are two alternatives:
    (1) complete demolition of the whole site, and build something new, or
    (2) demolition of the existing Bus Station and frontage, and restoration of the Station as it was originally.

    The existing unused station rooms could be used for Drivers Rest Rooms, Toilets, a Café and a Travel Office.

    Either way, the most logical and sensible option would be the transfer of the Bus Station to the Oakfield Road side. This would be of manifold benefit:
    (1) it would relieve traffic congestion in the centre caused by buses turning in and out of Railway Street, (Stamford New Road)
    (2) the new station could be designed like the Airport or Warrington Bus Stations, with the buses stacked diagonally. This makes for easier passenger and bus access
    (3) the buses would access this side via the junction at Lloyd Street, then left into Oakfield Road. There are already traffic signals at this junction; in addition this would ease the access of buses from the Warrington and Bowdon directions
    (4) the existing site behind the Station is only used as a car park and there would still be parking space, as well as some in the Forecourt of the Station after demolition of the existing Bus Station

    The whole plan could be easily carried out in stages with very little disruption:
    (a) the building of the new bus station behind present train station: conversion of derelict rooms in station building for café, rest room, travel office: disabled access from platform 3 to platform 4 made across the track
    (b) buses diverted into the new bus station via Lloyd St and Oakfield Rd. This would complete the first stage
    (c) the old bus station demolished and the old forecourt restored with the creation of parking spaces and a taxi rank, and
    (d) installation of disabled access lifts onto the existing footbridge, similar to those at Timperley. (I am sure these could be constructed in Victorian Railway style!)

    Whoever designed the Warrington Bus Station should be brought in to provide a design, as I think that design is about as good as it gets. Whoever designed the present Altrincham Bus Station should be, at the very least, struck off the Architects Register, or, at best, be shot: it is an absolute disgrace, being nothing but a gloomy hole.

  2. Mike Battman Says:

    I do think there is plenty of scope for a major redesign of the station; after all the trams do not need traditional platforms (and why do they need two platforms, when was platform 2 last used?). The tram platform could be rebuilt as they have been in Manchester city centre, much shorter and possibly ending round about where the footbridge currently is. This will free up the western end of the station for redevelopment and enable wheelchair access ‘on the level’ to platform 3.

    The Network Rail platforms, apart from when the MCRUA specials are running, are far too long, they too could be truncated to suit a 4-coach DMU and perhaps a gated pedestrian crossing (with flashing warning lights) to give access to platform 4 across the lines added; thus avoiding the need for lifts. All passengers could use this route, which would remove the need for the footbridge or at least give an alternative.

    I disagree about diverting the buses onto the Oakfield Road side of the station. To get to Lloyd Street the buses will either have to traverse the length of the newly narrowed Stamford New Road or negotiate Ashley Road and Langham Road with a mini roundabout and narrow sections.

    I must admit to not being familiar with the new Warrington Bus Station so cannot comment on its merits; but apart from its drab appearance the current Altrincham bus station layout works reasonably well, in my opinion. I don’t agree with encouraging cars to the front of the station, the current drop off and parking situation at the rear works fine. In the ideal world Stamford New Road should be pedestrianised from Moss Lane to Regent Road.

    The biggest challenge will be to retain the canopy and yet turn the interchange into a vibrant modern facility. The current ‘barrier’ that is the front façade of the station and separates the trams/trains from the buses needs to be substantially removed.

  3. Shelia Says:

    Platform 2 at Altrincham is used by trams but for large parts of the day it isn’t.

    The platforms have just been done up at Altrincham so there is no point in rebuilding them smaller now – that would just be a waste of money.

    Altrincham, Knustford and Northwich have the facility for a 6 coach train to call at them. As we don’t know what’s going to happen with the Middlewich branch in the long term and whether a link to the Airport could be built from the Mid-Cheshire line, it’s best to keep platform lengths as they are. You never know in the long term there could be a TransPennine Express portion working coming along our line in the morning peak and it could call at the main stations if they have longer platforms.

  4. Andrew Macfarlane Says:

    I attended Trafford Borough Council’s Altrincham South Neighbourhood Forum at Altrincham Town Hall last night (Tuesday) with David Walton of AERPS. I’m afraid there was no paperwork available (although I do have a copy of a presentation about the plans).

    The meeting began with an announcement that Altrincham & Bowdon Civic Society had been awarded a £50,000 HLF grant for conservation work in the Altrincham/Dunham area.

    The main topic for discussion was the plans for Altrincham Interchange. Two officers of GMPTE attended, one of whom gave a presentation. £1.8 million had been spent on the station in summer 2009. The recent fire in the booking hall was mentioned. Judie Collins told the meeting that work to put right the fire damage would be completed in 4 weeks’ time. There had been a delay because the insurance company was concerned that it was the second fire at the station in recent years.

    Getting back to the presentation, work on site would begin in early 2011 with completion in late 2013. The existing station footbridge would be replaced by a new one with lift access. However they were now looking at options to retain some of the existing platform canopies (our campaign has borne fruit!). This would depend on their condition. There would be temporary bus station arrangements while the new bus station was under construction.

    Questions then followed from the floor.

    The first was a request that there would be a human being from whom one could buy Metrolink tickets. The questioner was assured that there would be. It is planned that the new Travelshop (a combined bus/rail/Metrolink facility) will be open from 07.00 to 23.00.

    Someone else said that car access to the Interchange was currently poor. He was told that there would be a pick up/drop off lay-by next to the taxi rank on Stamford New Road. The Northern car park behind platform 4 would be reconfigured.

    Both David Walton and myself made a point about the need for better information provision. We were told that there were would be electronic departure displays for bus and tram as well as rail. Initially this would not be real time but this facility would be introduced later.

    I also asked the GMPTE reps to explain why it was not possible to retain the existing station footbridge and build lift towers alongside it. I was told that the existing bridge did not line up with the Nikal development (behind platform 4). The new bridge would be 10 metres further south. The lady from the Altrincham & Bowdon Civic Society said they had not been consulted about the demolition of the station footbridge. The bridge dated from 1881 and was part of the heritage of Altrincham. It had to be kept.

    Someone else said that most tram passengers did not pay their fare (not true from my experience) and they asked about having an Oyster-type card in GM. We were told that a trial was taking place in Bolton and that such a system could be up and running by 2013.

    Finally a man from the Trafford taxi drivers complained that the taxi rank was being reduced from 15 to 10 spaces to make way for the pick up/drop off lay-by. 10 spaces was nowhere near enough.

  5. The Chairman Says:

    I see that according to their website, “Nikal was formed in 2003 to pursue major town and city regeneration / redevelopment projects and investment opportunities.”

    I wonder if they are aware that their plans involve the demolition of the 1881 footbridge and the spoiling of the 1881 canopies? Incidentally, both of these have just been refurbished at significant cost.

    Altrincham has little enough heritage left without even more being unnecessarily swept away.

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