The bad news is seven out of the ten worst stations in the country are in the North West, the good news is that they will share in a £50m improvement fund announced today by the government.
The ten priority stations were chosen by Network Rail and the Department for Transport following the publication of an independent study into station standards. The stations' managers will now prepare business cases to bid for funding. The level of funding for each station will be decided after the bids have been assessed.
The North West stations are:
- Manchester Victoria
- Wigan North Western
- Liverpool Central
- Warrington Bank Quay
Cllr Mark Dowd, chairman of Merseytravel, said: "This is tremendous news, something for which I have campaigned and lobbied long and hard.
"We have brought a succession of ministers to Liverpool Central Station to see the situation for themselves and our persistence has been rewarded. I would also like to thank Louise Ellman MP for her assistance in lobbying Government on our behalf.
"Central Station is the busiest station on our network, with up to 60,000 passengers a day, and Merseytravel will contribute to the funding package to ensure it becomes a showcase on one of the country's best performing rail networks."
Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said work would begin 'as soon as practicable.'
Lord Adonis added: "While touring the rail network in April this year, I was struck by the great variation in the passenger facilities at stations. Train travel has improved a good deal in recent years, but more needs to be done to improve conditions and services for passengers at stations.
"I want every station to be a good station – a hub of local community life and somewhere that you wouldn't mind spending time, with adequate facilities. I support the report's recommendations of minimum standards for stations – classed by size – in terms of information, car and bike parking, facilities and environment. I intend to make these minimum standards a requirement in future rail franchise agreements with train operating companies."
The Station Champions study published today was written by former ReBlackpool URC chairman Sir Peter Hall, and Chris Green, a non-executive director of Network Rail and former chief executive of Virgin Trains.
Additional funds will be provided for the station improvements by Network Rail, third party contributions and through the franchising process.
Clapham Junction, Barking and Luton stations will also share in the £50m fund.