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Rochester station gets green light

Planning permission has been granted for a new railway station in Rochester, as part of a £135m Network Rail investment programme. Medway Council has approved the plans, and work is due to start in October.

The station will be operated by Southeastern and will consist of three platforms long enough to accommodate 12-carriage trains. Other features include accessible toilets, cycle racks, and step-free access.

The east Kent resignalling project will extend platforms at Strood station, add an extra platform at Rainham station, renew signalling equipment between Longfield and Sittingbourne and Beltring and Strood, upgrade seven level crossings, and reduce journey times between Rochester and Meopham.

Work is expected to be complete by winter 2015.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “This new station will deliver a huge boost to Rochester and Medway and provide passengers with improved facilities and better access to the town centre and surrounding area.

“It will accommodate longer trains than the current station, helping boost capacity and providing more seats for passengers. It will also help kick-start the wider regeneration of the Riverside area, which is an important part of the development and future of Rochester.”

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Medway Council leader and regeneration lead, said: “The fact that this scheme has got the go ahead is very good news. It will lead to a new, better train station for Rochester, which will result in a quicker, more reliable service with more space for passengers.

“Rochester – like the rest of Medway – is benefiting from regeneration and more and more people are viewing it as a place to buy a family home and commute from. The number of rail passengers is forecast to grow significantly and freeing up this space for a new station will not only improve the service for commuters and other passengers, but also make sure it grows with future demand.”

Charles Horton, managing director of Southeastern, said: “This is terrific news for Rochester and part of our ongoing commitment with Network Rail to invest in and improve rail services for passengers in Kent. Since we commenced running the rail franchise we’ve seen a huge amount of improvement work across our network - including three major station rebuilds at a cost of £25m– and we’re pleased to see an improvement in passenger satisfaction as a result. This new station at Rochester will provide fantastic new facilities for passengers and station staff and it will help meet the needs of our busy and growing railway.”

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