ScotRail restores historic Aberdeen landmark

Last updated: Thursday, 2 December 2021

ScotRail has come to the rescue of one of Aberdeen’s historic landmarks as part of an £8million redevelopment of the city’s railway station.

The North Corner Pavilion Building had fallen into disrepair along with the whole station which faced major maintenance challenges in the early 2000s.

The original station was built in 1867, but construction of the building now on the site began in 1913 and was completed after the First World War. It’s likely the North and South pavilions were added around 1920.

The North Pavilion is a significant A listed building and a link to the classic age of rail and the days of steam locomotives, grand terminals and hotels and forms an important part of the heritage of the rail network in Scotland.

A number of defects were discovered in the pavilion, including:

  • Failure of lead lined parapet gutters and render to the rear of the parapet.
  • Evidence of wet and dry rot to timberwork and timber lintels.
  • Corrosion and deterioration to existing metal window assemblies and steelwork.
  • Storm damage and deterioration of flat roof coverings.
  • Stonework defects and staining to elevations.
  • Defective stonework, pointing and damage to timber flooring.

Our aim with the repairs was to be sympathetic and keep the look of the pavilion as close as possible to that of the original building. Some pre-existing materials were recycled and the solid granite treads in the Guild Street entrance were removed and modified in order to use the granite for the new stairs.

To comply with accessibility regulations, a new platform lift is being installed for potential building users with impaired mobility.

Kirsty Devlin, ScotRail Head of Projects & PMO, said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity to restore an important building, which is part of the heritage of Aberdeen, for future generations.

“We are enjoying working in partnership with Austin-Smith:Lord, Morrison Construction, the Railway Heritage Trust, the city council and Network Rail to make sure the North Corner Pavilion can be enjoyed for many more years to come.”

Andrew McCafferty, Austin-Smith:Lord’s Project Director, said:

“Having worked on the project since January 2017, we consider it a privilege to be part of the team redeveloping this 100-year-old station built for Scotland’s third largest city.

“By conserving, repairing and caring for the listed structures, the longevity of this significant Aberdeen landmark will be assured for future generations to enjoy, and enhancing the station environment will improve the passenger experience.”

Andy Savage MBE, Railway Heritage Trust Executive Director, said:

“We have been very pleased to support this project, bringing more of Aberdeen station up to a good standard.

“With other work that we have funded, that ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland have carried out, the whole station is steadily improving, and making its contribution to the City of Aberdeen as it should.”

Neil Smyth, Construction Director for Morrison Construction, commented:

“We are delighted to be playing our part in bringing this historic part of the station building back to life.

“One of the most satisfying aspects about this great project is the way we are restoring such a central part of the fabric of Aberdeen, and we look forward to completing this phase and the wider station for the benefit of travellers and local people alike.”

Cllr Ryan Houghton, Aberdeen City Council City Growth and Resources Convener, said:

“Our ambitious City Centre Masterplan is seeing a major investment in our historic buildings and locations such as Provost Skene’s House, the award-winning Aberdeen Art Gallery, Union Terrace Gardens, Queen Street and our beach area.

“One of these current developments sees a substantial revamp of Aberdeen Rail Station’s North Pavilion which is being restored and adapted to be brought back into use as a restaurant/cafe.

“The building contributes positively to the historic townscape. The external fabric underwent a full condition survey and repairs were made to the roof, leadwork, rainwater goods, stonework and the whole building was repointed with a lime mortar.

“The interior of the building has been sympathetically restored and adapted to make it more accessible. The works will bring an important listed building back into active use and will see another attraction aimed at bringing more people, both local and tourists, into the city centre.”

The £8million redevelopment of Aberdeen station will deliver:

  • Significant enhancement of the quality and variety of station retail facilities.
  • Improvements to the taxi rank area and enhanced cycle parking.
  • Relocation of the existing ticket office and first-class lounge to create additional high value retail areas.
  • Improved visibility of the ticket office, creating an improved ticket retail environment and lounge.
  • Improved station entrance and connectivity with Union Square and the wider Aberdeen city centre.
  • Redevelopment of staff accommodation and additional operational staff areas to allow for future growth.

The redevelopment of the station will benefit customers in the North East as more services, more seats, and faster journeys are gradually delivered.