More passengers set to benefit from £100m station improvement fund
Posted: 28 November 2011 | | No comments yet
Passengers are set to benefit from £46m of improvements to stations across England…
Passengers are set to benefit from £46m of improvements to stations across England after the latest round of successful bids for rail industry funding was announced today.
The 21 successful projects include new and extended car parks, park and ride projects, station redevelopments and new retail space and will be delivered by Network Rail, train operating companies, local authorities and other third parties committed to regeneration in and around stations.
The schemes form the second tranche of successful bids for a £100m station improvement fund, launched earlier this year by Network Rail, the Department for Transport and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). To be eligible, proposals must have a benefit to passengers and also reduce the overall public subsidy for rail by generating a financial return.
Rail minister Norman Baker said: “This is great news for passengers. If we are to encourage more people to travel by rail in the future then stations must be easier to get to and have better facilities.”
These projects will ensure that travelling on a train is a positive experience both during a journey and at the start and end of a trip so I am delighted to be able to announce this additional funding.”
Robin Gisby, managing director, network operations at Network Rail, said: “This is a fantastic example of the rail industry, local authorities and other organisations working together to improve the passenger experience without increasing the burden on the taxpayer.
“This second wave of successful bids means this year we have allocated more than £67m in total towards projects which will make travelling by rail better and will generate a substantial return on investment.”
Alec McTavish, director of policy and operations at ATOC, said: “The whole industry is committed to working together more effectively in order to deliver a more efficient railway. This funding scheme is exactly the sort of vehicle that brings the benefits of closer working to the fore.
“The benefits to passengers of the scores of improvements being made to stations, depots and other facilities are clear, but equally important in this scheme are the benefits to taxpayers. The improvements made now will raise the value of rail franchises overall, which will generate more money for the Government and reduce the need for taxpayer subsidy in the future. We have been pleased and impressed with the innovative approaches from bidders in finding ways to make passengers’ and taxpayers’ money go further.”
The first tranche of successful bids was announced in August, with funding totalling £21m allocated to 15 projects. Throughout the bidding process there has been no cap on the maximum value of proposals and bids have been welcomed from third party organisations as well as the rail industry. The proposals were assessed by a panel including the Department for Transport, ATOC and Network Rail.
In addition to the 21 projects announced today, three further second tranche bids have had funding ring-fenced, pending clarification on certain aspects of the projects. Once funding for these bids has been finalised a decision will be taken by the panel on how to proceed with the fund’s remaining monies.