Middlesbrough and Thornaby Station Travel Plan

Context

Middlesbrough station is located to the north of the town centre; it is often viewed as the 'public transport hub' of the Tees Valley and acts as a key gateway to the town (population 176,655). The station's location is within close proximity to retail and commercial outlets, major employers (e.g. the Police headquarters and Middlesbrough College) as well as the University of Teeside and Middlesbrough Football Club.

Middlesbrough station is situated on the transport corridor for other stations in the Tees Valley and has twice hourly Northern Rail services to Darlington and Saltburn, hourly Northern Rail services to Hartlepool, Sunderland and Newcastle and hourly First TransPennine Express services to York, Leeds, Manchester and Manchester Airport. The station primarily serves equally as an origin and destination station but is also used as an interchange between First TransPennine Express or Darlington and Durham Coast services.

Thornaby is the main station in the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees (population 187,21 5) and the major gateway for Stockton town centre, approximately one kilometre to the North West. It is located in the town of Thornaby (population 23 ,405) but is also convenient for Stockton (population 81,485) and a railhead for the new settlement of Ingleby Barwick (population 20,025). The mixed-use Teesdale development is immediately adjacent to the North and includes a large college and Univeristy campus. Thornaby station also has a local residential and business catchment, with a number of major employers within easy walking distance.

The station benefits from four trains each hour to Middlesbrough as well as being served by hourly First TransPennine Express trains to York, Leeds and Manchester Airport, twice hourly Northern Rail services to Darlington and Saltburn and hourly Northern Rail trains to Hartlepool, Sunderland and Newcastle. It sees some use as an interchange, primarily between TransPennine Express or Darlington and Durham Coast services. The station facilities were completely upgraded in 2002, with the reintroduction of a staffed ticket office and the construction of a sixty-space 'park and ride' facility.

Need for a Travel Plan

Travel plans, when implemented correctly, bring about significant benefits to the local area in general, especially local residents and service users. Some of the benefits that Middlesbrough and Thornaby could create through the travel plan may include:

  • Increased rail patronage through additional journeys being made,
  • Opportunities to increase the integration between and usage of public transport in the town,
  • Increased accessibility,
  • Reduced congestion in and around Middlesbrough station,
  • Work towards achieving environmental targets,
  • Improved service user satisfaction,
  • and; Improved health and quality of life for employees and service users in the local area

Description of the process

All partners involved in the project fully support the travel plan and what it hopes to achieve. The plan itself will be administered and updated by Middlesbrough Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and First TransPennine Express. It will, however, be the responsibility for each partner to complete their specific actions set out in the plan itself.

Aside from the core elements of the plan, Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council will:

  • Arrange and facilitate the working group of stakeholders.
  • Further develop the plan in conjunction with stakeholders, after submitting to the National Steering Group.
  • Report to the National Steering Group as and when required.
  • Ensure the Station Travel Plan representative is supplied with up to date sustainable travel information, and if required, full support in any proposed new initiatives.

As Station Travel Plans are new to Middlesbrough and Thornaby, it is difficult to envisage how they can sustain lasting change without a significant resource or capital commitment.

Action Plan highlights

Middlesbrough

  • Increase communication, promotion and information provision of sustainable modes serving the station
  • Improve signage in and around the station to public transport interchanges, walking and cycling routes,
  • Integration of station travel plan into other local travel plans.

Thornaby

  • Improve signage in and around the station to walking and cycling routes,
  • Improve lighting on the Station approach,
  • Re-locate bus stops closer to the Station,
  • Introduce a contra flow bus lane for buses serving the Station.

Key lessons learned

A key lesson learned from the process so far at both stations is that funding commitments often alter based on the current economic climate and the financial situation of particular organisations and businesses. It is therefore difficult to assign definite funding streams to each individual element of the travel plan, especially for future year schemes when certain budgets may not have been agreed in advance.

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