Since the Welsh Highland opened in the town in 1997, the 25-mile line - the UK's longest heritage railway - has been extended in stages. Throughout that time, the Railway’s terminus station in Caernarfon has been a temporary structure.
Purcell was appointed to design a contemporary and iconic railway station, in-keeping with the adjacent UNESCO World Heritage site, that would improve the visitor experience and encourage people to interact with this underutilised part of the medieval walled town.
The new station replaces a temporary structure on the St Helen’s Road site and is one of the largest construction projects on a heritage or narrow-gauge railway in Britain. The new station is an integral part of Caernarfon's £16m Waterfront Project, led by Gwynedd County Council, to give a major boost to the existing historic area.
The site is divorced from the Town Centre due to poor connectivity and lack of visibility. The surrounding slate quay is underdeveloped and has been considerably neglected for a number of years. The site is circumscribed by a forbidding retaining wall on one side and the public highway on the other making pedestrian access very challenging.
Our proposal carefully considered the predominant use of vernacular materials within the vicinity and aimed to significantly improve access for all to the railway platform. Our designs aimed to improve visitor facilities and the interaction of the site with the surrounding buildings and community. The improved station will act as an iconic focal point for this part of town and will be a key regeneration catalyst for this much-neglected part of Caernarfon.