Dundee’s combined train station and hotel facility is set to open in March, the Tele can exclusively reveal.
The station, adjoining Sleeperz hotel, and associated retail units are due to open at the same time so visitors can enjoy a “seamless” entrance to the city.
Councillor Lynne Short, convener of the city development committee, said the opening of the station would form part of Dundee’s “rebirth” taking place over the next year.
As well as the station opening, 2018 will see the V&A museum welcome visitors after years of planning and construction.
The number of major gigs taking place at adjacent Slessor Gardens is also expected to rise as well.
Ms Short said that the city’s rejuvenation tied in well with VisitScotland’s upcoming campaign to promote the country with a Year of Young People in 2018.
“I’m delighted that each year we have a ‘year of’ — last year it was architecture, this year it’s history, heritage and archaelogy, and next year is the Year of Young People.
“To me, that ties into the fact that Dundee is going through a rebirth. The next generation of Dundee starts next year — it’s a real game-changer, as far as the city’s concerned.
“We have the V&A, we’ll be continuing with the business conferences that we’ve been hosting, we have the Kanzen Karate world championships putting us on the world stage, and on our doorstep we’ll have The Open.
“We’ll have more than 1,200 beds ready and available by the time of The Open.
“It would be wonderful to take advantage of Slessor Gardens then.”
As well as the plans for the 120-room hotel and retail offering at the station, Ms Short said the council had financial support for other facilities as well.
She said: “The station has been given funding to have electric car charging points put in and we’ve been given match funding from Abellio and Tactran for a wonderful bike station to hold more than 125 bikes.”
Even with the V&A and railway station nearing completion, Dundee’s £1 billion regeneration continues to power on.
City councillors have approved a number of plans in recent months that will fill some of the new Waterfront plots, while several applications have been made to revive city centre units in Commercial Street in the last couple of weeks.
And while the focus has largely been on the city centre, Ms Short pledged that the rest of Dundee would not be left behind as the city continues its transformation.
She said: “Although it’s seen as just the Waterfront, there’s actually so much going on in the city.
“We have been up at the Dens Road Market, which is set to house a new leisure facility, this week, and there’s the Derby Street housing plans as well. Considering we’re such a small city geographically, with not a lot of space, there’s a lot happening.
“The long-term plan is that the rejuvention goes hand-in-hand with new opportunities. Dundee has a post-industrial landscape and things like the V&A and our bid to be Capital of Culture in 2023 gives us our chance to have a place on that scene.”
She added: “As an administration, there is still a focus on social issues — housing, drugs and others.
“But look at who’s working on the Waterfront. Who’s got the jobs there, who will have the jobs in the hotels and in Dundee Deecom?
“It’s not going to be exclusively outside investment coming in. It’s generating income and creating jobs for the people who are here.”
Building more than a decade in the making
Work to create a new railway station for Dundee began more than a decade ago.
As part of the Waterfront redevelopment, it was agreed that a new facility would be built for the city.
In 2006, work got under way on strengthening a 575m tunnel that runs below the central Waterfront area.
During 2006 and into 2007, the tunnel roof was excavated, repaired, reinforced and sealed before anything was done above ground.
The route of the tunnel roughly follows Thomson Avenue, before turning south towards the new station.
It was several years later before Dundee’s old railway station building, which sat on the same site as the new building, disappeared to make way for construction work.
By May 2015, the site had been cleared of the former entrance building and platform access, as well as a former engineering building to the north.
A temporary entrance and ticket hall was installed at Riverside Drive, which is still in use at the moment.
Some of the work took place on days over the festive season when services weren’t running on the line below.
By January last year, it was full steam ahead on building the new station entrance — with a concrete bridge and structural beams installed later in 2016 to support the station.
Again, work was done overnight in order to avoid disruption.
By August 2016, the steel frame for the building arrived on site, following the completion of the foundations.
Since then, workers have been building on that structure and last month they started cladding the exterior.