Railway news: Network Rail acquires Brunel’s ‘Bristol Old Station’, bringing one of Britain’s oldest stations back into railway ownership

  Posted: 15.09.20 at 10:20 by The Editor

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Local railway enthusiasts - and those campaigning for a return of local lines - will be interested to learn that Network Rail has today announced it has acquired ‘Bristol Old Station’, an iconic Grade I listed building designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Brunel’s original building was Bristol’s first railway station when it opened in 1840 as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington. It remains one of the oldest surviving railway stations in Britain. The acquisition from Bristol City Council allows Network Rail to bring the building back into railway ownership for the first time since rail privatisation in the mid-1990s.

Brunel’s Old Station is currently home to Engine Shed, a business incubator which supports a cluster of innovative start-ups, and the Passenger Shed, an events space which hosts a wide range of events including exhibitions and weddings.

Network Rail plans to maintain current commercial uses in the building, while implementing a programme to maintain and restore the Grade 1 listed facilities.

Stuart Kirkwood, Acting Group Property Director, at Network Rail Property said: “We are very pleased to have brought this iconic building back into railway ownership. This is a landmark site with historical significance for the nation and for Network Rail as a company. We are looking forward to revitalising the building for the enjoyment of passengers, tenants and the local community.

“This refurbishment is part of our wider strategy to create great places for business and communities to thrive, supporting economic growth and regeneration in towns and cities across the UK.”

Mike Gallop, Route Managing Director, Western Route, Network Rail said, “It is an honour to have this historic building in Network Rail ownership. The building deserves the best care it can get, and we are planning to do just that. I trust that Brunel would be pleased to know that his first station in Bristol is back where it belongs - within the railway family that will care and cherish it."

The space has been available for parties, with room for up to 600 guests at a cost starting at £2,700 for a ten hour stretch.
Clearly under the new Rule of Six coronavirus laws, that business proposition will have to be put on hold.

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