On 25 September 2014, His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco presided over the inauguration ceremony of the new Casa-Port railway station in Casablanca, a new and stand-out example of the modern infrastructure making up the Moroccan national railway network.
Following the construction of railway terminals in Marrakech, Fez and Tangier, which were designed to be smart, multi-service living spaces, the Casa-Port railway station has taken large-scale development projects to a new level by making railway stations a community space for customers and the general public.
Located at the heart of a rapidly-modernising city, this building fits in perfectly with plans to reshape Casablanca’s metropolitan area and the urban space around the station, being as it is located at the crossroads of the city’s major avenues and next to the port, the Casablanca Marina and the Hassan II Mosque.
The new multi-service facility aims to offer a refurbished and modernised station, integrated services for users (retail and leisure space, etc.), a genuine intermodal hub, services adapted to the daily home-workplace commute, and to make optimum use of the site’s potential as real estate.
As the first of its kind in Morocco, this station has been designed to handle over 20 million passengers a year, with over 5000 passengers passing through at peak periods. The station extends over a covered area of around 33,500 m2 and comprises three complementary structures: a passenger building, an underground car park and a building housing the ONCF offices located alongside the platforms. The station, which has required investment of 400 million dirhams, includes:
- A 7000 m2 ground-floor covered area comprising a 3000 m2 passenger hall, 355 m2 of ticket counters and 650 m2 of retail space providing a range of services (ticket sales points, information display, welcome desk, waiting area, fast-food outlets, newspaper stand, food and drinks machines, etc.)
- A lower-ground floor comprising a pickup/drop-off space (for cars and taxis) and retail premises covering an area of 500 m2
- A first basement level converted into an 8400 m2 shopping gallery of which 2300 m2 is dedicated to fast-food outlets
- A second and third basement level converted into a 15,500 m2 car park with 480 spaces. This underground parking is located under the forecourt and the passenger building, providing direct vertical access from the car park to the platforms
- A (six-story) 3500 m2 office building comprising two 1000 m2 basement levels
- A concourse stretching over an area of around 4000 m2, the former tracks having been moved back by 70 m
- Five platforms covered with modern stretched-canvas canopies
- The latest equipment and facilities such as digital train information displays, bench seating, video surveillance, fire alarms, etc.
Particular emphasis has been placed on the materials used and the lighting, combining contemporary architecture with more traditional Moroccan design principles. This is evidenced by the specific design features which give this building an original touch: a mixed concrete/timber structure sheltered by a metallic frame roof interspersed with skylights to create a pleasant and calming atmosphere in the hall, deliberately transparent facades, a modern Mashrabiya facade on the west side to attenuate the afternoon sun and filter the light whilst still allowing it through.
Furthermore, the railway track infrastructure within the station has been upgraded at a cost of 100 million dirhams, making it more resilient and better able to cope with the heavier use resulting from an increase in traffic volumes.
Finally, thanks to large-scale projects such as this conducted under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, ONCF is effectively contributing to the process of urban modernisation and restructuring of the Kingdom’s cities, and is playing a full and key role in promoting sustainable mobility.