Two stations in Network Rail’s Wales and Borders region and one in Scotland are the latest to have turned blue on ‘Clap for NHS’ Thursday. So far, every week, Network Rail has added a couple more stations or viaducts to its list of structures lit in blue to honour the work of NHS and other key frontline workers during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
The blue lights also recognise railway colleagues, who themselves are classed as critical workers as they ensure passengers who need to travel are able to do so while enabling vital freight to move across the country.
Built in 1848, Shrewsbury station was designated a grade II listed building in 1969. The architect was Thomas Mainwaring Penson of Oswestry and building’s style was imitation Tudor, complete with carvings of Tudor-style heads around the window frames. This was done to match the Tudor building of Shrewsbury School (now Shrewsbury Library) almost directly opposite.
The building is unusual in that the station was extended between 1899 and 1903 by the construction of a new floor underneath the original station building. It is the busiest station in Shropshire and was the 14th busiest in the West Midlands in 2014-15.
Swansea station was opened in 1850 by the South Wales Railway, which amalgamated with the Great Western Railway in 1863. It has been renovated and extended several times in its lifetime, most notably in the 1880s, when the stone-built office block facing High Street, on the west side of the station, was added, and in 1925-7, when the platforms were lengthened.
The present-day frontage block, facing Ivey Place, was completed in 1934. Nothing now remains of the original wooden station, with its two platforms and galvanised iron roof. It is the fourth-busiest station in Wales, after Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Newport.
The £38 million, two-year redevelopment of Dundee station was completed in July 2018, ahead of the British Open golf tournament at Carnoustie and the opening of the V&A Museum in the city in September of that year.
The station’s location, with panoramic views over the River Tay and on to the new waterfront plaza, ensured that the blue-lit show of solidarity with NHS staff and key workers was visible both in the city and beyond.
Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, said: “Every Thursday, for the last couple of months or so, we come together as a nation to pay tribute to all our critical workers who continue to work every minute of every day to keep us safe and to keep the country going.
“The lighting up of our infrastructure, which we do on a weekly basis, is a simple yet effective way of showing all our critical workers that we understand, appreciate and applaud all their efforts during this difficult period.”
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, added: “We are delighted to illuminate what has fast become an iconic building in the city as a symbol of public support for the vital and fantastic work of NHS staff who are tackling the coronavirus.
“We are humbled on a daily basis by the bravery and dedication shown by staff in the NHS and we are grateful to all key workers across the country, including those in our railway family, who are playing a massive role in supporting the country at this time.”