Rail passengers are set to benefit from better journeys after the government today (12 March 2015) announced £60 million of extra funding to transform rail stations around the UK.
Train operators and local authorities will be able to bid for a share of the money, which can be put towards improvements such as car parks, ticket gates and better facilities.
This is the second time funding has been made available in this way. The first round of funding, worth nearly £100 million, has transformed 45 stations across the country since 2011. Among the successful stations was Stockport, which received £4.3 million to construct a new 1,000-space multi-storey car park, which opened last year.
During a visit to the station, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said:
With increasing numbers of people choosing to travel by train, this funding will make a real difference to passengers. With its impressive new car park, Stockport is a great example of what can be achieved, and I hope it inspires the industry to come up with similar ideas.
We are investing record amounts in improving rail journeys across the UK as part of our plans to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:
It’s great that today we can confirm that extra funding for stations will continue into a second phase. This funding scheme has enabled a number of improvements like ticket gating and regenerated commercial space which have greatly improved passengers’ experiences at railway stations across the country. I am keen to see what new ideas train operators and local authorities will now come up with to improve station facilities and provide good value for money for the taxpayer.
The new fund will be managed by Network Rail, who will jointly assess the bids and will be involved in overseeing the work at stations.
Richard Kirkman, head of national customer relationships at Network Rail, said:
This announcement is more evidence of the value of railway station investment, building on the commitments already announced for the National Stations Improvement Programme and Access for All schemes between 2014 and 2019. Rail users can look forward to further improvements in the station environment, whilst the taxpayer will benefit from the commercial value unlocked by these schemes.
The Department for Transport is now inviting train operators and local authorities to submit funding bids to Network Rail by the end of May. The successful stations are due to be announced later this year.
Dominic Booth, stations lead for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and train operators, said:
Railway stations are at the heart of the towns, villages and cities they serve. Train operators and Network Rail will work together to get the most out of every pound of this funding to improve station facilities for local communities and rail passengers alike.