Experience rail stations of the future with virtual reality

What will our local railway stations look like in the future? Now’s your chance to glimpse into that world and have your say on what’s needed to make a great station experience for passengers and communities of the future.

Book a free virtual reality event or workshop!

Members of the public are being invited to take part in immersive virtual reality experiences and collaborative design workshops across Britain, throughout May, to explore emerging designs for small and medium sized railway stations.

Wearing headsets, you will be able to experience what it feels like to move around a new station with luggage or pull up in a train alongside the platform.

You’ll hear train announcements and experience the new design right down to the last detail. As part of the overall experience you will understand how the design concept responds to local communities and the character of different places. The aim is for people to have fun while finding out more about the proposals, so they can offer their informed views.

Book yourself on an immersive virtual reality pop-up event and see into the future for rail stations

ExploreStation is an ongoing project, with the goal of finding out what people need to create great station experiences for passengers and communities now and in the future.

Ahead of the May events, designs have been published online, with the public being asked for their opinion. Commissioned by Network Rail and led by Design Council in partnership with The Glass-House Community Led Design Digital Urban and Commonplace, ExploreStation offers exciting ways for people to engage with new station design concepts from 7N Architects.

The architectural practice won a 2021 RIBA international design competition to create proposals for local stations across Great Britain. 7N Architects has produced a design that can work in different places and in different configurations – known as a kit of parts. The end result will be an overarching design blueprint for our stations of the future.

Have your say

Have your say on the future of rail stations

Now Network Rail want to hear from you.

The public engagement programme enables participants to interact with 7N Architects’ proposals in depth and in a variety of ways, including experiencing what the proposals will look and feel like. People’s points of view are a crucial part of the conversation, helping to shape the evolving design in different areas of focus – from feeding back on the station’s design principles to the way the station will be integrated into local neighbourhoods.

The innovative approach to engagement embodies Network Rail’s design principles, which include putting passengers first, being community-focused, collaborative, inclusive and innovative.

Come and take part

Events take place across Great Britain, from immersive experiences in York, Shildon, Manchester, Hereford and Paisley, to in-person and online workshops that take place in Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton and on Zoom respectively.

Immersive virtual reality experiences

The immersive experiences are designed and led by experts in the field, Digital Urban. Each virtual reality experience offers the option of bookable or walk-in slots from 10:00–17:00 each day. Each slot has a space for wheelchair users or those who use mobility aids.

The fully guided experience takes between 15 and 20 minutes. In consideration of Covid-19, all touch points will be cleaned between visits.

Visit York’s National Railway Museum on May 4 and 5 and Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum on May 11, 12 and 13. To book visit here.

York (National Railway Museum) – 4 and 5 May [here]

Shildon (Locomotion Museum) – 7 and 8 May [here]

Manchester (Science and Industry Museum) – 11, 12 and 13 May [here]

There will be further events in Hereford and Paisley.

Collaborative design workshops

Led by The Glass-House Community Led Design, the free events in May will create time and space to ask questions, share ideas, and consider how the design will shape people’s experience of stations in the future. The workshops are open to anyone and are designed to accommodate people who identify as physically and/or mentally disabled and/or neurodiverse.

The contributions of those taking part will inform how the stations will be delivered at individual locations, helping to ensure the design serves the diverse needs of the Great British public now and in future generations.

Book your place at one of ExploreStations’s workshops here:

Central Liverpool – 11 May, 18.00 – 20.30 [here]

Central Manchester – 12 May, 14:00 – 16:30 [here]

Central Brighton – 25 May, 17:30 – 20:00 [here]

An online workshop focusing on how the station accommodates those with diverse disabilities and needs will also take place in May and everyone is welcome to attend.

Online Zoom workshop – 26 May, 18.00 – 20.00 [here]

ExploreStation online feedback portal

Anyone can explore the design proposals online in a clear step-by-step format that addresses overarching principles before presenting further areas of focus in more detail. The portal is now open for feedback on the second-round design proposals at: https://explorestation.commonplace.is

ExploreStation is commissioned by Network Rail and delivered by Design Council in partnership with The Glass-House Community Led Design, Digital Urban and Commonplace