Circadian Lighting, Feature, Transport

Circadian lighting at Leeds station is a first for railways

The new lighting at Leeds City Station is dubbed ‘human circadian rhythm lighting’ by TSP Project and it’s believed to be a first for the railways in the UK.

IN WHAT’S believed to be a first for the railways in the UK, Leeds City Station has unveiled a new concourse featuring circadian lighting.

The work at Leeds – the UK’s third busiest railway station outside of London – was completed whilst the station remained open to the public 24/7. Render courtesy Network Rail/TSP Projects.

The lighting is designed to complement the ambitious gold metal façade and transparent roof which were created to allow natural daylight to flood the concourse.

However, on dull, overcast days the dynamic colour-temperature changing lighting becomes more pronounced.

The engineers behind the project describe the installation as ‘human circadian rhythm lighting’, or HCRL. Previously only used in the UK in a handful of care establishments, such as hospitals, HCRL mimics the light patterns of natural daylight with a cooler white light in the mornings and warmer yellow light in the evenings.

TSP Projects says that the technology behind the new lighting identifies with the human body’s need for rhythmic light patterns akin to the changing daily natural light cycles. ‘In doing so, HCRL allows passengers to experience the same effect inside the station as that of the natural light patterns, resulting in the body clock remaining in sync and encouraging positive moods’.

TSP Projects worked with Network Rail to deliver architectural design and project management of the renovation programme for the southern concourse in less than one year.

The project involved the reinvention of the late 1960s wooden roof and updates to the station entrance, southern concourse retail space, ticket gateline and public WC facilities.

The work at Leeds – the UK’s third busiest railway station outside of London – was completed whilst the station remained open to the public 24/7.

The project delivered additional design elements to create a wow factor for the 30 million passengers travelling through Leeds every year, delivering an aesthetically pleasing finish and a more secure, future proof station.

To add to the complexity, the brief outlined the requirement for removal of asbestos, electrical cabling and oil-based paint finishes.

Natural lines were created inside the concourse to encourage the ‘flow of traffic’ through the space, subliminally encouraging passengers to move in the direction of the gate line.

With a brief from Network Rail to remove the dark and dated wooden panelling from its roof and ‘bring in more light’ to the concourse, the designers team developed a solution using Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) to allow natural daylight to flood through the roof whilst remaining strong, durable and long lasting.

This translucent fluoride-based polymer sheeting offers high strength properties over a wide temperature range and high resistance to corrosion. The additional bonus of this material is that it’s light weight and quick to install. 

The final result sees an impressive pillow design over two tiered levels, providing optimum amounts of light streaming through into the concourse.

With the new entrance providing the main gateway to and from the city, the plans have involved the removal of the old, blue, square fronted canopy, making way for a new ‘pinched’ entrance canopy carrying a modern gold welcome into the city using anodised aluminium.

Chosen for its light-weight and robust properties, the new gold façade provides a more upmarket first impression, tying in with the Southern entrance.

The new entrance also includes new full height glazing, further enhancing the connections to New Station Street and the wider city centre.

Furthermore, old information boards and information points have been removed with new CIS, advertisement screens and a Customer Information Point installed to support a more intuitive passenger experience. The previous gateline caused passenger congestion, but the newly unveiled Automatic Ticket Gateline (ATG) arrangements are set to relieve congestion on both the concourse and platforms.

Other consultants working on the project for TSP Projects were Buro Happold, M10 Fire, Fourways Telecoms, Kerbian and CCD.


  • Learn more about human-centric circadian lighting at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition. The show takes place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2018 at ExCeL London. Entry is free if you pre-register here.