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15.09.15

‘Britain’s worst station’ reopens after £5.6m overhaul

Redevelopment works at the Grade II listed Wakefield Kirkgate station finished yesterday (14 September) after significant delays in 2014 when dry rot was discovered on the site – pushing its final deadline to this year.

The £5.6m overhaul of the Grade II listed station, once labelled “Britain’s worst” by former transport secretary Lord Adonis, began in 2013 with plans to develop a new ticket office, retail outlets, offices and waiting areas by 2014.

Customers and the local community will also be served by increased capacity, with the station’s cark park now 79% larger than it used to be.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Good transport links are key in creating the right environment for business to grow and Kirkgate provides an impressive gateway to this part of the city. I am confident this will boost the investment and economic potential in Kirkgate and help further revitalise this area of the city.”

The project was backed by £1.5m funding from the Department for Transport, as well as £750,000 from the government’s Yorkshire & Humber European Regional Development Fund Programme.

Other partners included Network Rail, WYCA, Wakefield Council, the Railway Heritage Trust, Grand Central Rail and Northern Rail.

Transport minister Andrew Jones MP said: “The transformation of Wakefield Kirkgate will unlock huge benefits for passengers, the local economy, and the wider regeneration of the Kirkgate area.

“Investing in schemes like this has a vital role to play in creating a Northern Powerhouse, and follows our earlier £6m investment in the new station at Wakefield Westgate – giving this city two excellent gateways.”

Wakefield Kirkgate Railway Station CGIClick on the image to enlarge it.

In March 2013, regeneration charity Groundwork helped raise £4.6m for the upgrade project, when works were expected to begin within two months.

Earlier this year the Heritage Lottery Fund also awarded a £80,000 grant to support the transformation, complementing the multi-million pound investment with the intention to preserve the station’s legacy.

The revamp of the station was originally fast-tracked by a ‘Staff Our Station’ campaign by local newspaper the Wakefield Express, which pushed for improved safety at the building following a rape, serious assaults and several robberies.

Lord Adonis visited the location in 2009 and dubbed it “the worst medium-large station in Britain”, after which Network Rail drew up restoration plans in collaboration with Northern and the local council.

The upgrade is also part of a £27m development programme in Kirkgate set to regenerate the area over the next five years.

Comments

Jak Jaye   15/09/2015 at 12:45

Britain's worst station? your kidding of course its always been Birmingham New Street no matter how they try to tart it claustrophobic atmosphere and lung cancer inducing diesel fumes

'CHARD   15/09/2015 at 14:25

...and presumably prolonged exposure to New Street also affects punctuation and grammar.

Roger, Sheffield   17/09/2015 at 14:50

Does this include the free City Centre bus finally going to the station again, instead of dropping off on the main Barnsley road? OK for me, that's known the area for decades; very off-putting for some of the bewildered strangers I've had to direct!

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