£5bn regeneration of Britain's rail stations making local economies stronger

A £5.2bn regeneration of Britain’s railway stations is spearheading economic growth, according to new analysis published alongside a report on how communities can make the most of investment in their station.

The report by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) explains how stations can boost the local economy and the surrounding area. As natural focal points for growth and regeneration, the report says that station investment can help to create jobs, stimulate house-building and reinvigorate local public spaces.

Six stations - Birmingham New Street, Bromsgrove, Burnham on-Crouch, Swansea, Wakefield Westgate and Wokingham - recently revamped at a combined cost of more than £800million in total are highlighted as ‘templates’ for regeneration in the report, Regenerating Britain’s railway stations: a six-point plan. Other station redevelopments undertaken across the country over the last decade, including among others, Birmingham New Street, Reading and Swansea, have seen a total of £5.2bn invested.

The report, unveiled today (22 June) at the UK Rail Station Development and Regeneration Conference, sets out the benefits of collaborative working and investment between the rail industry and local communities to deliver integrated, funded and sustainable improvements.

Stations are ‘gateways’ at the heart of many neighbourhoods, with a unique potential to create new amenities such as cafes, artists’ studios and farmers’ markets, as well as facilities for community, training and cultural activities and even electric car charging points, the report says. Investment in a regenerated station can increase confidence among potential investors by providing a focus for development and improvements to stations can help to foster local entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, such as by creating new retail space around in and around the station.

The report highlights a further three successful regeneration projects, including:

  • Investment at Manchester Piccadilly being a catalyst for 650,000 sq. ft. of new and refurbished office space, and an increase in office rents of a third.
  • Three years after Sheffield station’s redevelopment there was a 67 per cent increase in total ratable value within 400m of the station - three times the average increase across Sheffield over the same period.
  • At St Helens, the investment in a new station and the surrounding public realm improved the overall image and perception of St. Helens and transformed the George Street Quarter into a prosperous business, residential and leisure quarter.

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the RDG said:

“Everyone has the right to new opportunities delivered by a better railway. Together with local communities the railway is making significant investment in a new generation of iconic, design-led transport hubs, which help make towns and cities stronger. With a regular flow of people, some of whom may not intend to even catch a train, railway stations can be ideal places for all sorts of local businesses and services.

“Stations of the future need to adapt to meet rising customer expectations. Those highlighted in this report show how we are reinvesting for today and tomorrow, spreading wealth across Britain, protecting local communities for the future and making local economies stronger and fairer.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

More than 99 per cent of Britain’s population live within 12 miles of a railway station and more than nine in ten people are just a 20-minute cycle ride from one.

Including related infrastructure spending, money that has been spent on major station redevelopment projects completed between 2007-2017, and due to fully open in 2018 includes:

Station

Cost

Birmingham New Street

£750m

Manchester Victoria

£44m

Reading

£897m

London Bridge

£1bn (redevelopment complete in 2018)

London King’s Cross

£550m

London St. Pancras

£800m

Total

£4.0bn

Investment in the six stations listed as case studies in the report:

Station

Cost

Birmingham New Street

£750m (also mentioned above)

Bromsgrove

£25m

Burnham on-Crouch

£140,000

Swansea

£6.9m

Wakefield Westgate

£16.4m

Wokingham

£12.7m

Total

£812m

The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street included a complete overhaul of the station’s design, both in terms of operational layout and aesthetics. The investment delivered a new concourse, with three and a half times more space than the previous concourse, improved signage, increased accessibility, and a striking new station exterior. This scheme was designed to address the many issues facing New Street station prior to its redevelopment, including excessive crowding, safety issues and regular station closures.

The new station at Bromsgrove, developed and led by Worcestershire County Council, Centro and Network Rail, was part of the wider electrification and re-signalling programme on the network, to accommodate an increase in service frequency. The new Bromsgrove station has four platforms and step free access, whereas the old station had only two short platforms and no step free access between them. New facilities for passengers include secure cycle storage, covered bus stops and 350 car parking spaces.

At Burnham-on-Crouch, the station building, canopy, ticket office and waiting room were all refurbished and the canopy, lighting, seating and perimeter fencing was replaced. Two affordable art studios and space for community and voluntary use were created within the refurbished station building. Abellio Greater Anglia delivered the scheme, letting the premises on a 10-year lease at very low or nominal rent for the station house. Burnham Town Council underwrites the net operating cost of the building.

At Swansea, the redevelopment project included the installation of new canopies over platforms, the introduction of ticket gates, new waiting rooms and toilets, the installation of a Customer Information Pod and an increase in the number of CCTV cameras. The station had not seen any material investment since the 1970s, and as a result there was a perception that the station’s tired appearance was discouraging investment in its vicinity. Increased retail facilities at the station followed the station investment.

Wakefield Westgate gained a new station building with an open plan foyer, a new waiting areas, and improved retail. The area around the station was enhanced with quality public space, new signage, seating and street furniture. The new transport interchange outside the station includes taxi and car drop off areas, short stay parking and bus stops.

At Wokingham station, a new building was built, 50 metres north of the old one. The new building has a lighter, more contemporary design with upgraded amenities, step-free access to platforms, an improved public realm surrounding the station, more parking and a new link road for better road connections. The site of the old building became the southern section of the new link road. Delivering the new station building in a different location to the old station building meant that no temporary facilities were required during the construction phase.

Stations upgrades in franchises:

Money that has been committed to improving and upgrading stations in the Northern, TransPennine Express, Greater Anglia, and South Western franchises, awarded in the last few years:

Franchise(s)

Beginning

Cost

Source

Northern and TransPennine

April 2016

£55m

Link

East Anglia

October 2016

£60m

Link

South Western

August 2017

£90m

Link

Total

£205m

The National Stations Improvement Programme has benefitted over 550 medium-sized stations through better passenger information and facilities:

Period

Number of stations completed

Cost

2009-2014

200

£180m

2014-2019

350

£70m

Total

550

£245m*

*includes approximately £90m of third party funding including from local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.

The Access for All programme was started in 2006 with the primary aim of introducing accessible lifts and ramps to stations across England, Wales and Scotland, enabling more people to use the railway, more easily.

Period

Number of stations with AfA improvements

Cost

2006-2017

164

£504m

A £19.7m New Stations Fund opened for bids in January and February 2013, and covered England and Wales to invest in the creation of the following new stations. Successful bids from a second fund are expected shortly.

Station

Promoter

Status

Newcourt

Devon County Council

Opened June 2015

Lea Bridge

Waltham Forest

Opened May 2016

Pye Corner

Welsh Government

Opened December 2014

Ilkeston

Derbyshire County Council

Opened April 2017

Kenilworth

Warwickshire County Council

Opens December 2017

 

GRAND TOTAL

£5.056BN

Read the report - Regenerating Britain's railway stations: a six-point plan

Read the case studies

Read the Vision for Stations

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