Civils and stations

11.04.08

Better station just the ticket for Warrington Bank Quay

People using Warrington Bank Quay station will gain much better and more attractive facilities when a £650,000 improvement project is completed in August this year.

Whatever form of transport people use to arrive to begin their train journeys, they will find a much more welcoming station. There will be a bigger, better, covered area for taxis, improved pedestrian access, a new vehicle drop-off zone, a new bus stop adjacent to the forecourt, dedicated cycle parking and better arrangements for people with disabilities. A separate project will improve car-parking and provide more spaces.

A more appealing and easier-to-use entrance with automatic doors will lead to a bigger, brighter concourse with big new windows, a higher ceiling and extra room for customers in the new building. More space will be offered for queuing and waiting.

The development is funded by Virgin Trains, Network Rail, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Department for Transport's Access for All scheme, and is in partnership with Warrington Borough Council's linked project to enhance the station forecourt.

Ron Dixon of Virgin Trains, the Station Manager, said: "Warrington Bank Quay has become an increasingly busy station since the introduction of Virgin Pendolino trains between London Euston and Glasgow and Super Voyagers between Birmingham and Scotland. We expect it to be even more popular as a result of the faster journeys that will be offered next year. London trains will generally run non-stop south of Warrington, with most from Euston covering the 182 miles in 103 minutes at an average of more than 106 mph."

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: "For many visitors the first place they see in a town when they arrive is the train station and these improvements at a strategically important station for the Northwest will create a very positive first impression.

"An effective transport system is essential to building a successful regional economy and these works will improve access to Warrington, the region and beyond."

Andy Farrall, Strategic Director for Environment and Regeneration at Warrington Borough Council, said: We welcome the transformation of Bank Quay station which will make significant improvements to one of the town's major gateways. The new facilities are all customer-focussed and will be of great benefit not only to residents but will also enhance the whole visitor experience.

"Together with the new bus interchange and Golden Square shopping centre and with the Winwick Street redevelopment works on the horizon, the town centre is being transformed, boosting the local economy and vibrancy of the town."

Customers will benefit from the much-improved ticket shop which will be equipped with three self-service ticket machines compared to one now. There will also be additional room for new car-park ticket machines to be installed later.

The ticket office will be refurbished to create a new ticket shop and hall with more space and new counters to make it more user-friendly as part of this significant scheme. Meanwhile, a temporary ticket office has been installed to allow building and modernisation work to go ahead from now until August.

There will be a new, larger concourse and retail unit. The layout will make it easier for people to move around with easier access. The underpass linking platforms will be refurbished.

Better security will make the station even safer – it already has "secure station" status recognising the safety it offers customers, like all the stations managed by Virgin Trains. Staff accommodation will also be enlarged and renewed.

The appearance of this increasingly important station on the West Coast Main Line has been little changed since the end of the steam age more than 40 years ago and the arrival of electric trains in 1973. The work now under way will prepare it to welcome the additional customers expected when Virgin Trains introduces faster services following Network Rail's West Coast route modernisation.

The work is being undertaken by Galliford Try with Virgin Trains being the lead client, supported by the Department for Transport, North West Development Agency and Network Rail.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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