It was always going to be an incredible journey, we knew that, but as people who specialise in great journeys, this one has really blown our socks off. It’s a good job we’re part of the story.
Roots & Routes, the second sizzling season of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme, has been exploring Hull as the unique gateway to Europe. Reflecting on the arrivals and departures that create the stories of the city, and highlighting the contribution of the people and ideas travelling into and out of Hull. Many of whom do so through the iconic station managed by TransPennine Express (TPE), Hull Paragon.
We didn’t want to miss out on this year of amazing art and culture, celebrating all that is Hull, so becoming a partner and the Hull 2017 Rail Supplier along with our sister company Hull Trains, was a no-brainer. But we wanted to be even more involved.
Since it was first built in 1847 the station has had many faces and subsequent makeovers. Now at its largest capacity yet, following the integration of the city’s railway and bus stations in 2007, Hull Paragon is looking bold and bright, which we think is very much in keeping with this glorious city. With giant banners spanning the concourse welcoming the world to Hull and a dedicated Visitor Information Kiosk in the main entrance, where visitors can get all the information they need about the programme, there is no doubting that when you step onto the platform, you know you’ve arrived in the UK’s City of Culture.
But that’s not all. Not only are we helping to promote art, we’ve become a venue to experience it. The glorious full-scale replica of Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth hangs from our rooftop in the central concourse; Claire Barber’s installation, The Train Track and Basket, dominates our front façade encouraging people to look at and experience the city in new ways; and we have even more glorious works to reveal as this spectacular year continues.
While we love our station, we wanted to make it even better, so we’ve invested more than £1.4m to redevelop it into something even more modern and marvellous. New toilets, a glass fronted waiting room and new retail units will be introduced, and improvements will also be made to the ticket office, creating a welcome environment for customers and visitors to the station while maintaining the integrity of the beautiful Grade II listed building.
We recognise the importance of the role we play as the first point of contact for those visiting the city and we want to give not only a good, but the best of impressions to people visiting Hull, because we know that’s what a city like this deserves.