'Daylighting' project to reveal hidden rivers under platform at Sheffield station

The meeting of two famous Sheffield rivers under a platform at Midland station is set to be revealed in a ‘daylighting’ project.

By David Walsh
Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 12:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 12:44 pm

Passengers will be able to look down on the confluence of the Porter Brook and river Sheaf under plans to fit a grille into platform 5.

The site is currently covered by a nondescript timber hatch.

The Sheaf and Porters Rivers Trust want to fit small fences around a steel grate allowing people to stand ‘suspended’ over the rushing waters.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

The perches and grille plan for platform 5.

It would also throw daylight on the tunnels which are seen as barriers to the movement of wildlife, particularly salmon.

Trust member and retired city council engineer, Richard Bingham, said there had been an enthusiastic response from Network Rail and East Midlands Railway who had helped with the mountain of paperwork and agreed to ‘adopt’ the grille and ‘perches’ when finished.

He added: “In response to our project, Network Rail's engineers have found four other possible daylighting locations in the sidings near the station, which we are excited about and a successful project on platform 5 will help us raise funding for these in future.

“We'll also be able to run culvert tours where we can look up at passengers looking down at us!”

The nondescript wooden hatch over the rivers on platform 5.

But first they needed to raise £24,000 to cover the initial cost.

The Trust has been unable to raise money because its ‘Hidden Rivers Tours’ have been suspended since 2019, he added. So they will need to apply to local charities for grants.

Mr Bingham added: “Several solutions, including glass windows, solar powered lighting, artistic gratings and floating picnic tables were considered and rejected until I came up with the idea of an industrial floor grating, made in Sheffield of stainless steel and surrounded by Steel Line's perches which will be fitted with engraved plaques.

“The perches will prevent pedestrians with high heels getting inadvertently stuck, but have a gap at the side for people who would like to stand on the grille and enjoy the sensory experience of being suspended over the confluence of the River Sheaf and Porter Brook!”

Three river tunnels run under the station.

The Trust works to ‘rescue’ the Sheaf and Porter Brook from development, culverts and ‘canalisation’ and reduce litter and fly tipping.

Cross section below ground at Midland Station.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Trust logo.
The stainless steel grille design.