Derby Station Travel Plan

Context

The city of Derby is one of the most centrally located cities in England, and benefits from extensive transport links to the rail and motorway network. Derby rail station is located inside the Castleward neighbourhood; east of the city and within a 10-20 minute walk of the centre. Castleward is rich in railway heritage dating back to the 1830s and includes a number of Victorian statutory listed buildings, The Midland Hotel, The Brunswick Inn, The MidlandRailway Institute, The Round House and one of the UK's earliest examples of purpose built dwellings for railway workers, Railway Terrace. These homes are still occupied today as private dwellings. The neighbourhood surrounding the station was designated status as a Railway Conservation Area (RCA) in 1979.

Derby's central location and industrial history makes it a major commerce and tourist destination, as well as a primary commuter hub. The railway station (currently managed by East Midlands Trains) is served by key primary origin and destinations such as Leeds, Sheffield and Bristol as well as local services calling at towns along the Derwent Valley line and to Nottingham. Derby also benefits from frequent direct trains to London connecting with services for travel on the Eurostar.

The 'existing situation' has changed since the launch of the pilots. The station canopies and platforms are currently undergoing an £18 million major refurbishment programme carried out by Network Rail. Together with the recently installed 'gating' in the foyer as part of East Midlands Trains franchise commitments.

Derby station has six platforms and two entrances located to the front and rear of the station. The entrances and the platforms are connected via a footbridge and full access to all platforms by a ramped subway. Lifts to the platforms are being installed as part of the platform and access improvements currently being carried out by Network Rail. The remaining platform, Platform 1, benefits from having direct access from the station forecourt located towards the front of the station. The rear entrance adjoins to Pride Park, a major business park which is also home to Derby County Football Club and Derby College. Access to the station is served by the local bus network, cycle network, pedestrian links, taxi, motorcycle and the private car.

Need for a Travel Plan

The station in its current form presents the following problems and issues:

  • The current forecourt arrangement creates conflict between all transport modes and does not make access for pedestrians and cyclists a priority.
  • Current signage arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists to and from the station via the city centre as well as links to key destinations such as major employers or visitor attractions is inadequate. Routes between the station and neighbouring areas, the central area and national cycle network are not clearly defined.
  • Access across the station site provides a key link between Derby's city centre and Pride Park via the footbridge. There is no nearby alternative route available. EMT has recently gated Derby station as part of their franchise commitments. This is of particular relevance to potential accessibility issues that may arise through gating and possible restrictions over the footbridge usage.
  • Current parking arrangements are spread over a wide area surrounding the station adding to the confusion and conflict around the station forecourt area.
  • No signage for motorcycle parking. At present motorcycles share the same space as cycles or currently 'fly-park' to the railings around the station.
  • Due to the volume of taxis queuing up in the taxi rank, any additional taxis wishing to join the back of the queue find it difficult at times to gain a space. The implications of this means that taxis will then queue in and around the surrounding streets by the station causing congestion.
  • City bound bus services are difficult to access for visitors to the city In January 2005 Derby Cityscape, a not-for-profit urban regeneration company launched the 'Masterplan', a framework guide to drive forward the physical regeneration of Derby city centre. The Masterplan identified the Castleward area for a new urban village and commercial development hub, and the adjacent Station Gateway as priority projects. In 2008 Derby Cityscape commissioned the Derby Station Area Masterplan, a feasibility study that sets out potential to improve the links to and from the station for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users through the redevelopment of the station interchange and surrounding area. The changes envisaged for the station which will act as a catalyst for regeneration and private investment around the station and wider area.

A station travel plan will help achieve the vision and aspirations set out in the Derby Station Area Masterplan and will complement Network Rail's redevelopment programme to provide new and modern platforms. This is scheduled to be completed by October 2009. The travel plan will help to market and encourage sustainable travel modes to and from the station and encourage new rail passengers which will help maximise investments made to the physical infrastructure.

Derby is also a Cycling Demonstration Town (CDT) and so a station travel plan would be an essential complementary initiative contributed to the city's ongoing CDT status funding to 2011 .

Description of the process

The Derby Station Area Masterplan is endorsed by the Derby Railway Station Partnership (DRSP), a high level strategic group chaired by Richard Brown of Eurostar, and included representation from Network Rail, East Midlands Trains, Cross Country Trains, Derby City Council, Derby Cityscape, Marketing Derby, Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership, Derby City Partnership, Derby College, Bombardier, Arriva and Trent Barton. From this partnership a sub-group, the Derby Rail Station Steering Group was formed to drive forwards projects within the Station Masterplan.

Derby Station Travel Plan Group and wider Stakeholder Group was set up in October 2008 to provide partners and key stakeholders with an outline of the station travel plan pilot project, set out project management arrangements including key steps and timescales for the delivery and to steer the development and implementation of the Derby rail station travel plan.

Derby City Council, East Midlands Trains (EMT) and the Derbyshire and Peak District Campaign for Better Transport have taken the lead role in developing the travel plan with input from a wide range of partners via steering groups meetings. Key actions and quick wins were identified by a stakeholder workshop.

Action Plan highlights

  • Promotion of pedestrian routes to and from the station and city centre
  • Promotion of cycle routes to and from the station and city centre, including links to the national cycle network and other available cycle routes
  • Improve cycle parking to meet demand
  • Plus-bus ticketing promotion
  • Marketing of summer cycle event, fold up bike scheme

Key lessons learned

  • Ensuring that the travel plan delivery timescales are aligned with wider major proposals. We do not want to undertake abortive work prior to the major station forecourt revamp as this would result in work being duplicated and poor value for money being achieved.
  • Nature of the conservation area status is an added complexity in terms of delivering some of the actions. For example, location and type of signage to be used on key approaches and bus stops.
  • Engagement has been very positive but partner's resources have caused issues. For example, practical funding constraints have led us to rethink and seek out other funding sources and how we will deliver some of the actions.
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