New East Coast station to complete city’s multi-million pound transformation
Rail passengers are being invited to two special events next week in Wakefield to see plans for the city’s new Westgate station.
The £8.1million project will link with Wakefield’s Merchant Gate development to create an exciting new gateway to the city, which has been transformed in recent years by high-profile schemes including the world-renowned Hepworth Gallery.
There’ll also be a chance to meet East Coast’s station management team and put questions directly to the people in charge of providing high-speed train services linking West Yorkshire with London.
The Department for Transport’s Station Commercial Project Facility fund is providing £7.1 million to support the scheme, with the remaining £1 million from the English Cities Fund (ECf), a joint venture between Muse Developments Ltd, the Homes and Communities Agency and Legal & General. ECf was responsible for the delivery of the railway car park as part of the first phase of the station redevelopment and recently completed the new Council offices.
An exhibition featuring detailed plans for the station, including artist’s impressions of the new station buildings, goes on show at Wakefield One, the new Wakefield Council headquarters, on Wednesday 26 September between 12 noon and 6.30pm.
The following day, Thursday 27 September, the exhibition moves to the existing Wakefield Westgate station concourse, between 1pm and 8pm, to allow commuters returning home a convenient opportunity to comment on the plans.
The station event will also include a ‘Meet the Manager’ session, giving rail users a chance to meet senior managers and discuss what they like about the current East Coast train service, and to suggest areas for further improvements.
Work on building a new Westgate station is due to start by the end of this year, with completion scheduled for October 2013.
The new Wakefield Westgate station will feature:
• A new station building
• More and better retail facilities
• A new travel centre
• A new First Class Lounge and Standard waiting area
• Installation of ticket gates to improve passenger safety and combat fare evasion
• A new footbridge and lifts linking the platforms; and
• Improved integration with local buses and taxis
The station redevelopment will link with the recently-completed 900-space multi-storey car park, and complements refurbished customer facilities on the station’s northbound platform.
East Coast is working closely with Metro to ensure the new station delivers high quality facilities for local as well as long-distance rail travellers.
Funding for the station redevelopment was approved in late 2011, following a successful joint application by East Coast and Network Rail, supported by Wakefield Council.
East Coast Stations and Property Director Tim Hedley-Jones said: “We are keen to give as many people as we can a chance to have their say on these exciting plans for a new Wakefield Westgate station.
“The completion of the new station next year will provide a stunning new gateway to a city which is really going places, a key destination for both business and leisure travellers.
“East Coast’s frequent and fast services between Wakefield and London are a vitally important part of the economy of the city and the West Yorkshire region. We’re looking forward to hearing first-hand from local people as we plan for the construction of a new station at the heart of Wakefield’s economic success.”
Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council said: “I’m very pleased that work is expected to start at the end of the year on the new Westgate train station. The new rail station has always been an integral part of the master plan for the re-development of the area and it’s good to see things moving forward.
“We have been working closely with East Coast, Network Rail, Metro and the English Cities Fund to develop the scheme and I hope everyone takes this opportunity to come and have a look at the plans and have their say on the new station.”
David Wells, Development Director at English Cities Fund said: “English Cities Fund is very happy to have been able to contribute towards this exciting redevelopment of the station. This, along with the development of Merchant Gate, will give the city the gateway it deserves.”
The new station will be built and owned by rail infrastructure provider Network Rail, working under contract to East Coast which manages Wakefield Westgate station.
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “Stations provide important gateways to the cities they serve. This new station plus the extensive refurbishment and improvement being completed at Kirkgate station will provide visitors with a better impression of Wakefield, as well as improving facilities for regular travellers.
“It is important that local people comment on the plans in order to guide the design and development process. I would encourage as many people as possible to give us your comments.”
Visitors to the “Meet the Manager” event at Wakefield Westgate will also be able to comment on the expansion of East Coast train services, launched in May 2011, which increased the number of services from Wakefield Westgate to provide:
• 32 direct services to London each weekday
• 18 direct services to London on Saturdays
• 17 direct services to London on Sundays
• Average journey times to London are four minutes faster at 1 hour 58 minutes
• A new fastest journey time of 1 hour 47 minutes on the weekday flagship peak service leaving Leeds at 0700, stopping at Wakefield Westgate at 0712 and travelling non-stop upon arrival at London King’s Cross at 0859