Restoration of Victorian Grade II* listed Tynemouth Railway Station, on England’s north east coast, has provided an exciting covered venue for markets, festivals and community activities. Tyne & Wear Metro leases the centre of the site. Ramboll’s specialist heritage team, led by conservation-accredited engineer James Miller, supplied conservation skills, site supervision and structural and civil engineering for the award-winning project.
The station had been on English Heritage’s ‘At Risk’ register for many years. Its elegant cast and wrought iron roof canopy had suffered extensive corrosion — some areas were on the point of collapse. The proximity of live overhead equipment and the fragility of the existing structure added risks, so health and safety received the highest consideration.
A painstaking fingertip survey and the diagnosis of defects allowed us to detail every ironwork repair. Trial repairs in one corner of the canopy proved the quality of work in advance of the main project. As a result, we were able to agree most repairs with English Heritage, through listed building consent, before the contract was let.
The roof bays at the south end were in particularly poor condition. Many of the diagonal web members in the lattice beams had rusted through. Most of the cast iron columns had fractured horizontally, separating their heads from their shafts. To avoid replacing the columns — retaining the original fabric and saving the high cost of recasting — our structural philosophy was to use decorative cast iron support brackets as ties, bolted above and below the fracture. Cracked brackets were replaced using castings of stronger spheroidal graphite iron.
Over 4,000 new panes of glass were installed in the canopy. Gantry-free access for high-level maintenance was made possible by using laminated toughened glass sheets on either side of the gutters, enabling staff to clean from the glazed roof valleys.