Chester train station gets £1.4m boost

Michael Hunt

Chester train station will receive £1.4m for improvements from the North West Development Agency.

The investment will provide:

  • A new central pavilion including a waiting room and refreshment area, and demolishing vacant and underused building additions around the staircase
  • A second stairway which will interlock with the new central pavilion and provide better access for passengers
  • New office space and associated train crew facilities

Mark Hughes, executive director of economic development at the NWDA, said: "The station is an important gateway into Chester and the North West. It has benefited from major investment by partners and our funding will complement this.

"A first-class Chester Station will not only provide an attractive welcome for visitors but will stimulate the economic contribution that the station and its surroundings already make to Chester and Cheshire, and will encourage further private sector investment in the Gateway Quarter. Following the recent increase of direct train services between London and Chester a better station will also help businesses to capitalise on new opportunities."

The next phase of the Gateway project focuses on improvements to the central, west and east pavilions on the island platform area, which includes platforms 4 to 7. It is the busiest platform within the station with services operating to Manchester, Liverpool, and Crewe, as well as the Virgin Trains London service. The east and west pavilions, located on the island platform, are part of the Grade II-listed building status.

Funding from the NWDA will boost the total funds available under the National Stations Improvement Programme. Jointly funded and delivered by Network Rail, Arriva Train Wales and Merseytravel, NSIP aims to bring a noticeable and lasting improvement in the environment at stations.

Ian Bullock, Arriva Trains Wales customer services director, said: "Following on from the successful partnership to redevelop the front of the station and the station concourse, including a £1.76m investment by Arriva, this new investment in the remaining platforms 4 to 7 will improve the customer experience still further.

The funding from NWDA will complement the £8.2m investment made by other partners over the last three years. It includes Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales, Railway Heritage Trust, English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Local Authority.

The overall Chester Station Gateway Project is a key project within the Chester Renaissance programme, which seeks to draw together the public and private sector to deliver a package of regeneration priorities.

Work is due to start in the winter this year and will be completed in summer 2010.

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