A MAJOR York attraction offered members of the public the chance to get a glimpse of what railway stations of the future could look like with the help of virtual reality.

People have been taking part in a series of ExploreStation VR workshops at the National Railway Museum in Leeman Road yesterday and today (May 5) as the company works to revamp the small and medium sized train stations across Britain to enable them to better serve their local communities.

York Press: New rail station design in VR Picture: ExploreStationNew rail station design in VR Picture: ExploreStation

Ben Watson, of 7N Architects, the project leader behind the ExploreStation's new station design proposals said: "We are reimagining the smaller, commuter sized stations in terms of their local community engagement.

"The local communities are consulted to have their input into what their station should provide.

"We aim to reclaim some space around the stations, such as space taken up by large car parks, and make use of market stalls for local sellers and other social acitivities which may change throughout the year.

"We aim to use local materials, such as sandstone paving for York, and plant local species of plants and trees."

York Press: Public experiencing VR train station Picture: ExploreStationPublic experiencing VR train station Picture: ExploreStation

Visitors wore headsets and were immersed into a three-dimensional (3-D) computer simulation of the new station design. 

They experienced what it would be like to sit as a passenger on a train pulling up into a new station, and view the design out of the window, and to walk around the new station with luggage.

York station is regarded as a bigger, urban station, while 80 per cent of the UK’s 2,500 station are smaller, commuter stations.

York Press: Member of public experiencing VR rail station Picture: ExploreStationMember of public experiencing VR rail station Picture: ExploreStation

ExploreStation is a project which aims to get public feedback to create better rail stations for the communities they serve, commissioned by Network Rail and led by Design Council.

The latest design concepts were created by 7N Architects.

York Press: VR rail station design Picture: ExploreStationVR rail station design Picture: ExploreStation

Lindsay Whitley, of Design Council, said: "We are looking to find a balance between the station and its enviornment - we are not looking to lose car parks, but into what facilities the station requires.

"We'd like to encourage the public to use public transport by making the area more attractive to use, such as incorporating local artists into the designs."

She explained that this VR engagement activity is part of the design process with not fixed or final plans yet.

York Press: VR rail station design Picture: ExploreStationVR rail station design Picture: ExploreStation

Simon Mabey, Founder and Director, Digital Urban.place who placed the designs onto VR said: "We see the world in 3-D and to get people to virtually experience the real thing, then often they’re much better informed about the choices they make.

“I think its just a very natural way of getting people to understand the design than 2-D drawings, plans and still images, as you get to experience it as an actual passenger.

“We have to be careful as people may think it feels so real that they actually reach out to grab something.”