The new entrance to Leeds Station takes shape

The ambitious project to build a new entrance to the train station in Leeds is taking shape.  The £17.4m project kicked off in December 2013.

Concrete blocks
Concrete blocks arrived in December 2013

The first sign of activity was the arrival of dozens of huge concrete blocks. Part of the area on Granary Wharf was fenced off and we were underway!

 

Pontoon on river Aire
Part of the pontoon that emerged in the spring

It was a quiet start but, by April, a huge floating pontoon was in place on the River Aire. The pieces are all delivered to an area out towards Asda’s offices, then floated up river to the site at Granary Wharf.

The Dark Arches were built between 1866 and 1869. Cutting into the base of the structure must have been a nervy moment.

Cutting stonework
Cutting into the base of the arches

This was taken in May, by which time, some impressive kit was assembled on the river.

Pontoon
The pontoon is starting to look impressive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piles driven into the river bed
Piles driven into the river bed

By the end of May, a series of piles for the foundations have been driven into the river bed.

Foundations growing steadily
Foundations growing steadily

 

 

As we entered July and Yorkshire focussed on the Tour De France, starting a few hundred yards away, the foundations were growing steadily.

Work continues underwater
Work continues underwater

 

By the end of the month, work was progressing underwater!

 

 

 

The concrete starts
The concrete starts

Three weeks later, a concrete base has been added to one of the giant supports. A steel cage is then built like a huge meccano set.

 

Both bases in
Both bases in

This week, almost a year since building started, the two  giant, concrete bases are in place. The project is really taking shape now. More work is going on under the arches but behind closed doors. The project is due to complete next summer. Once open, around 20% of passengers at the country’s second busiest station outside London will use the entrance. I will continue to take photos over the coming months and post again as it nears completion. There is a great time lapse film of the construction here.

 

FFF

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Yoga – try it now in the privacy of your own home

One of the joys of getting older is that, at some point, we all start to       make strange tennis serve style grunts when we sit down or stand up. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it will. Given the worrying trend that sofas are getting lower (or is that just me?) something has to be done. That something, may just be yoga.

I remember black and white images of impossible yoga positions on tea time telly in the seventies. The idea of that or any kind of organised exercise class sends me running for the hills. As for Lycra – don’t get me started.

Worry not, today we have apps and the privacy of your own living room. My particular instrument of torture is Yoga Studio on iOS. Dozens of lessons are available to download. So far I have only been brave enough to attempt basic stretches but, I have to admit, I can feel the difference. Each lesson is accompanied by a very persuasive, soothing voiceover and on screen directions. Don’t be put off by how easy the lady makes it look – not all of us are that shape. If we were looking at storage options, she would fold down flat and slide into that tiny space in the spare bedroom. I am more of a “shove it in the garage and throw a tarpaulin over it” kind of shape.

The first position was called corpse – not overly sensitive if you are worried that the years are catching up with you – but how hard can lying flat on the floor really be? Turns out it is quite difficult but a loud and satisfying crack of the neck later, things improve. Next up, hug your left knee to your chest. You are kidding! OK, get it as far as possible for now. Repeat with the other leg with similar results but the addition of another loud crack – ouch. Hang on, feels better now, forget the ambulance.

Now she is rising to her task and tells me to sit, legs out front, and curl my back to rest my chin on my legs. Again, extremely elegant pose on the screen, while I look like a sack of spuds has just split and gone off in different directions. Too many years slumping over a computer screen and, frankly, too many pies nudges dignity out of the window. However, I am promised this will improve.

Soon the voice is telling me to lie on my back, reach between my knees and take hold of the outside of my feet for “Happy Baby’. There is obviously some kind of mistake here because my arms are about two feet too short to grab feet (I take solace in believing I have exceptionally long legs that don’t seem to bend in the middle – obviously genetic). A frantic grab for shins is just about good enough but the instruction to relax and feel the benefit of this stretch has me literally rolling around on the floor laughing. Spectator sport this is not. It is probably worth pointing out that it wouldn’t be good for radio either as you can’t rule out the occasional accidental noise!

After fifteen minutes, it is all over and I am hauling myself back to my feet. Don’t tell anybody but, I actually felt better for it. Several sessions in I feel a real benefit and I have even downloaded “beginners strength”. I haven’t used it yet – no point rushing these things.

So, what’s stopping you. Be sensible, all the usual small print about consulting your doctor applies, give it a go – you may just enjoy it. Just remember to close the curtains!

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