The ongoing transformation of Middlesbrough Railway Station has received a further boost on platform improvements, capacity enhancements and direct trains to London.
Middlesbrough Council, working in partnership with the rail industry, produced a Station Masterplan earlier this year setting out the aspirations for modern infrastructure to support the ongoing city-scale regeneration in Middlesbrough.
The joint working led to £4.5m being secured from Network Rail (£2m), Tees Valley Combined Authority (£2m) and Middlesbrough Council (£500k).
That money is being used to open the southern entrance fully, develop the undercroft and provide additional passenger amenities and commercial spaces. The work will also enhance the longer term building conservation and provide better connectivity with other sustainable transport modes such as buses, cycling and walking.
Following detailed design and consultation, these improvements are scheduled to get underway in summer 2019 and are expected to add significant vibrancy to the station and the area around it.
All of that work will build on the £3m of investment that has already gone into repairing the roof and making other improvements.
Now to further the ongoing regeneration of the station, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive has approved the principle of securing funding from Tees Valley Combined Authority to accelerate the platform and capacity enhancements required to secure direct trains to London.
The combined authority has been provided with £59m to support the development of public transport infrastructure in the Tees Valley under the Transforming Cities Fund.
It is expected that a paper proposing a £20m investment would be submitted to the TVCA Board in November.
Rail travel is seeing a real resurgence in both Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley. The station has seen an increase in passenger numbers in the last five years with them now being in excess of 1.3 million per year, with continued growth expected in 2018.
Capacity issues caused by the existing rail timetable are resulting in the delay and cancellation of trains at Middlesbrough, with the knock on effect being felt throughout the network – particularly across the North West. The addition of regular London bound services would significantly exacerbate this situation.
Middlesbrough’s Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for City Centre Strategy, Cllr Charlie Rooney, said: “Middlesbrough Council has for the past three years done an unbelievable job in bringing all the various parties together to create the Station Masterplan and getting us to the point where £7.5m is already committed to major improvements.
“We are now at a point where, with the agreement of our partners in the combined authority, we can resolve the capacity and infrastructure issues to create a destination station which with direct trains to London brings with it huge economic and leisure opportunities.
“Middlesbrough is currently seeing major city-scale regeneration projects across an array of sectors and the Rail Station is an absolutely key component of our ambitions.”