A look inside Bristol Temple Meads’ iconic curved roof before restoration works begin

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The roof is Grade I listed and will cost £24m to restore

BristolWorld was given a sneak peak inside Bristol Temple Meads’ iconic curved roof before £24m restoration works commence on the structure next month.

Network Rail’s team of engineers and its contractors Taziker will begin a key phase of the work to refurbish the roof of Bristol Temple Meads station in April.Network Rail’s team of engineers and its contractors Taziker will begin a key phase of the work to refurbish the roof of Bristol Temple Meads station in April.
Network Rail’s team of engineers and its contractors Taziker will begin a key phase of the work to refurbish the roof of Bristol Temple Meads station in April. | Network Rail

Network Rail will begin its first phase of carefully restoring the Grade I listed roof, using a process known a ‘grit-blasting’, from April 12 as part of its Bristol Rail Regeneration Programme.

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The grit-blasting involves forcibly propelling abrasive material against a surface at high pressure, removing old paint and dirt, and marks the latest stage of a complex multi-year project to ensure the roof retains its Victorian character.

Passengers won’t see the curved roof again until the works are finished in 2024.Passengers won’t see the curved roof again until the works are finished in 2024.
Passengers won’t see the curved roof again until the works are finished in 2024. | JPIMedia

The roof refurbishment is due to finish in the summer of 2024 but lots of other work will be ongoing at Temple Meads in the meantime.

A separate project to update all of the station’s electrics is also getting underway, which will see the overall power supply, lighting, passenger information and CCTV systems upgraded.

The work all forms part of a £24m restoration project to transform Temple Meads into a ‘world-class’ transport hub.The work all forms part of a £24m restoration project to transform Temple Meads into a ‘world-class’ transport hub.
The work all forms part of a £24m restoration project to transform Temple Meads into a ‘world-class’ transport hub. | JPIMedia

Mike Contopoulos, Network Rail project director, said: “We’re proud to be preserving Bristol’s oldest station for future generations as part of the Bristol Rail Regeneration programme, transforming Temple Meads into a world class transport hub.

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“Our work to renovate the Grade I listed roof will mean that this icon of our city will be protected and maintained for decades to come, while creating a more welcoming environment for passengers.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Elizabethan hammerbeam roof and colonnade at the Great Western Railway Station at Temple Meads in Bristol, circa 1845.Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Elizabethan hammerbeam roof and colonnade at the Great Western Railway Station at Temple Meads in Bristol, circa 1845.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Elizabethan hammerbeam roof and colonnade at the Great Western Railway Station at Temple Meads in Bristol, circa 1845. | Getty Images

“Our specialist team will begin grit-blasting the steel parts of the roof in April, stripping it to bare metal so that we can carry out repairs and apply protective paint.

The grit-blasting process will strip old paint and dirt from the structure so it can be repainted and repaired.The grit-blasting process will strip old paint and dirt from the structure so it can be repainted and repaired.
The grit-blasting process will strip old paint and dirt from the structure so it can be repainted and repaired. | JPIMedia

“We’ll be doing this in phases throughout the summer, encapsulating each section to make sure that no dust or other material reaches the platforms. To minimise the impact on passengers, grit-blasting will take place overnight and noise levels will be monitored.”

Taziker managing director - infrastructure, Neil Harrison.Taziker managing director - infrastructure, Neil Harrison.
Taziker managing director - infrastructure, Neil Harrison. | JPIMedia

Managing director of Taziker, the contractors carrying out the roof refurbishment on behalf of Network Rail, Neil Harrison, said: We have overcome significant challenges to get to this stage of the project which is only possible through the hard work and dedication of the whole project team.

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A view from the roof at Bristol Temple Meads.A view from the roof at Bristol Temple Meads.
A view from the roof at Bristol Temple Meads. | JPIMedia

“Our next challenge is the grit blasting stage but we’re prepared and fully equipped, with experts in this specialism ready to commence work.”

To support the work, from Monday, April 18 the station’s ticket office will be temporarily relocated to the former Bonapartes café bar on Platform 3 for up to 12 weeks.

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