Cambridge station restoration wins heritage award

Monday, 22 January 2018

Painstaking work to restore 32 decorative college roundels on Cambridge rail station’s façade has led to a national heritage award for Greater Anglia.

The rail operator received the MTR Crossrail Award for Urban Heritage at the National Railway Heritage Awards for its work to restore the station building to its former glory, meticulously repairing and repainting its ornate roundels, cleaning and repairing damaged brickwork and tidying up unsightly cabling and surface pipes.

The station’s 32 beautiful roundels represent the coats of arms of Cambridge University’s colleges, and local dignitaries from when the station opened in 1845. Work to carefully restore the mouldings, removal of the redundant cabling and repairing of damaged brickwork on the Grade II listed station cost £250K and took a year to complete, involving detailed research to ensure the correct colours were used, hand cleaning of fragile parts, careful repainting and the application of 23½ carat gold leaf.

The work was carried out on behalf of the train operator by CIS Services limited (cabling) and Stonewest Heritage consultants and the specialist heritage division of Alfred Bagnall &sons (roundels). This work was funded by a grant from the Railway Heritage Trust.

Presenting the award, Steven Brindle, English Heritage, said, “Cambridge was one of a number of excellent schemes submitted by Greater Anglia. That one of the newest franchisees has recognised in this way the importance of the heritage environment in which it operates is exemplary and it is to be hoped that future franchisees will demonstrate a similar commitment.”

Simone Bailey, Greater Anglia’s Director of Asset Management, commented, “The work to restore the station’s exterior marks the completion of a £4 million transformation for the station with more space in the ticket hall, an extended gateline enabling easier access to and from the platforms, more ticket windows and ticket machines and improvements to the customer information screens. The station has been restored to its former glory and is now a stunning example of a heritage railway building fit for the needs of passengers in the 21st century.”