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Ambitious plans for £20m Carlisle Station redevelopment take key step forward with contractors appointed

Exciting plans to transform Carlisle Railway Station and its surrounds remain on track with the appointment of the contractors for design and build elements of the £20m Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal funded redevelopment works. 

Story Contracting have been appointed for the work to the Northern Gateway and Eric Wright Civil Engineering are the successful contractor for the work to the Southern Gateway of the Station.  

Carlisle-based Story Contracting are an award-winning local business who deliver first class civil engineering and construction projects across the U.K.  As the company’s construction team prepare to deliver the Northern Gateway, Story’s Rail division are renewing the station platforms on behalf of Network Rail.


Eric Wright Civil Engineering has been involved in many schemes across Cumbria, most recently completing the award-winning Pooley Bridge, which reconnected the local community for the first time since the town’s historic bridge was washed away by Storm Desmond in 2015.

This is one of the first projects within the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to have funding approved to move forward into the delivery phase. Not only will the investment transform the station, but it also will strengthen the strategic connectivity to Carlisle and to the wider Borderlands region.

The proposed redevelopment will improve the station environment and facilities and in turn will encourage visitors to come again, help young people to stay, make the station work better for the public, and stimulate investment in Carlisle. The ambitious plans also complement the proposed new HS2 high speed railway linking London, the North and Central Scotland with their improved access to new and extended platforms.

The Carlisle Station Gateway project includes:

Northern Gateway: Partial pedestrianisation of Court Square, enhancements to the space for passengers to enter and exit the station with easy access to ticket purchasing facilities. It will significantly reduce vehicular movements to the North of the station and Court Square, with improved connection to the city centre.

Station Building and Interior: Enhancements to the access to the platforms from the north and the undercroft using an easily accessible stairway. The undercroft will also be enhanced to provide a secure and welcoming entrance to the station from the South. Secure cycle parking, an improved historic entrance from the north, and improved/modernised passenger facilities are also included.

Southern Gateway:  A new southern entrance and car parking facility will be created at the Southern part of the station. A total of 423 station car parking spaces is proposed, including disabled and electric bays. Together with the parking, coach services, rail replacement services and pick-up and drop-off will also be relocated to the southern side of the station. Cumbria County Council has recently acquired the Station Retail Park to enable delivery of the new Southern Gateway.

Enabling Streets and Junctions:  Junction improvements at Victoria Viaduct / James Street, Water Street, Crown Street and Court Square Brow to improve access to the station, particularly for pedestrians.

The project is being developed jointly by Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council working with Avanti, Network Rail and Cumbria LEP as key partners. Cumbria County Council is taking the lead in the delivery of the project to strengthen the role of Carlisle Railway Station in improving connectivity to the Borderlands region.

Bringing this development forward also aligns with the Government’s objectives for green recovery by encouraging more people to make use of public transport.

Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “This is another key step forward in this important regeneration project which will ultimately encourage more passengers to use the station and create a more attractive gateway to the city centre.

“Both Story Contracting and Eric Wright Civil Engineering have a proven track record in designing and delivering high quality work here in Cumbria and I’m delighted that we will be working with them again on this project.”

Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr John Mallinson said: “This is great news for Carlisle and the Borderlands. It’s another important step forward and will progress the improvement works at Carlisle Railway Station. The ambitious plans will help the city grow and will provide a boost for the local economy.” 

Rory Kingdon, senior sponsor at Network Rail said: “We are delighted to work with government and Cumbrian partners as part of the Carlisle station redevelopment. It’s an exciting project that will not only regenerate this historic part of the city, but it will also radically transform the passenger experience for decades to come.”

Matthew Worman, Regional Growth Manager at Avanti West Coast, added: “We are excited that this phase of the Carlisle Station Gateway Project is progressing. We look forward to working with all partners to play our part in delivering this project.

“It will transform the station and put it firmly on the map as a hub on the West Coast Main Line, by making it a fitting gateway to the city and Borderlands region for people arriving by train.”

Lord Inglewood, Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and member of the Borderlands Economic Forum, said: “Cumbria LEP is delighted to have contributed a £100,000 grant from our Capital Development Fund towards the ongoing development of Carlisle Station.

“It will support the redevelopment of a major gateway into the Cumbrian and Borderlands geography, delivering significant physical improvements to the area around the station, and ensure that the passenger and visitor experience befits an interchange of Carlisle’s importance.”

Emma Porter, Construction Managing Director at Story Contracting, added: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to deliver part of the transformative project at Carlisle Railway Station, which will bring long lasting benefits to the whole of Carlisle and make the city an outstanding place to live, work and visit for many years to come.

“This is a very exciting time for Carlisle, with huge opportunities presented for the city through funding from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, as well as the Towns Fund. The Carlisle Railway Station redevelopment is the first step in unlocking some of our potential economically, culturally and environmentally, and supporting further investment and job prospects in Carlisle.”

Diane Bourne, Managing Director at Eric Wright Civil Engineering said: “We have a long-standing relationship with both the Council and Cumbria and are pleased to be involved in this landmark project. The importance of efficient transport and good connectivity to a region’s economy cannot be underestimated and we are pleased to see areas such as Cumbria are continuing to invest in these public services.”

Photo credit: Cumbria County Council

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