Millions of passengers benefit from over £220m in station improvements

Posted: 14 March 2014 | | No comments yet

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has officially unveiled a completely refurbished rail station for Wokingham…

Wokingham Station

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has officially unveiled a completely refurbished rail station for Wokingham, representing the 400th station to benefit from the National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP).

The £6million project at Wokingham has been funded by NSIP, in partnership with South West Trains, Network Rail and Wokingham Borough Council, and has delivered significant benefits for the station’s passengers including:

  • A new modern station building
  • An improved transport interchange for taxis, buses and car users and a drop-off area
  • A new, bigger waiting area with more seating
  • A larger booking hall and improved ticket facilities
  • State-of-the-art passenger information screens
  • New toilets including wheelchair accessible facilities
  • New cafe

Set up five years ago with £150 million of Government funding, the cross-industry NSIP has brought better stations to millions of passengers in England and Wales, far exceeding original targets. NSIP aimed to deliver improvements to a minimum of 150 stations between 2009 and 2014. Wokingham represents the 400th station to benefit from the programme, and the number continues to rise thanks to the success of the rail industry in attracting external funding for local improvements, with total investment topping £220million.

Wokingham station’s renovation was funded by NSIP with additional contributions from South West Trains and £1.5million from Wokingham Borough Council.

Tim Shoveller, managing director of the South West Trains and Network Rail alliance, along with Cllr David Lee, Wokingham Borough Council’s leader, welcomed Baroness Kramer to the new station today (Friday 14 March). They were joined by John Boon and Ian Bullock, co-chairs of the NSIP Board, and Michael Roberts, Director General of Rail Delivery Group.

Tim Shoveller said: “Wokingham station has been transformed with a new station building that feels more spacious and welcoming, enabling passengers to pass through the station more quickly and easily. Together with the redesigned forecourt area and additional car parking spaces, Wokingham station is now fit for the 21st century.

“During this franchise we have invested over £50m in our stations as these provide a gateway to our rail services. We have greatly valued the partnership working with Wokingham Borough Council on this project.”

Cllr David Lee, Wokingham Borough Council’s leader, said: “Improvements to the station have been a long term aspiration of the borough council. I am delighted residents, and those who work in the town and use the station, now have a better travel experience thanks to this investment. And more improvements are set to come this autumn as work is progressing well on the station link road. The new link road is the key element and provides a public transport interchange in the heart of our town, benefitting commuters and visitors alike, but will also go a long way towards easing the current traffic backlogs that choke our town centre.”

Michael Roberts said: “The National Stations Improvement Programme is a very successful example of cross-industry collaboration. The five year programme will have delivered more than £220m of improvements at over 400 stations. Train companies and Network Rail have worked closely with local groups to focus on station improvements that benefit passengers most. Research by independent watchdog Passenger Focus has found a 30% increase in satisfaction where NSIP work has been carried out. We are committed to continue and build on NSIP’s achievements over the coming years.”

Rail Minister Baroness Kramer said: “This scheme to improve our stations has been a real success, and Wokingham, the 400th station to benefit, is a great example. We have delivered £220 million worth of improvements to 400 stations in England and Wales. It is making a real difference to the people who use our railways and is a great example of the rail industry working with local partners to benefit passengers and communities. The government is investing record amounts into transforming our railways and I look forward to the continued success of this programme.”

David Sidebottom, acting chief executive of Passenger Focus, said: “Our research shows that investment in stations can improve passengers’ satisfaction with them. This is particularly true when targeted at features which make a difference to their experience. This includes waiting rooms, arrival time information, toilets and the overall look and feel of the station. The investment from NSIP is therefore vital for improving passengers’ experiences around the country.”