Passengers in Dartford are benefiting from a £7m investment in the town’s railway station.
New facilities include a new station building complete with an improved ticket office as well as fully accessible toilets and a more open concourse and station entrance.
Additional improvements - which will be completed in November – will include better lighting in the station, larger canopies on both island platforms and better waiting facilities. Platform extension works are also due to be completed this summer which will accommodate longer trains and help provide additional capacity for passengers. When let, there will also be improved retail for passengers inside the new concourse.
Work started in June 2012 and has been funded using £6m from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and £1m from National Station Improvement Plan.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “Dartford is a station which will have to accommodate an increasing number of passengers in future. This investment is vital to provide the facilities to meet that demand.
“It is also a key part of the wider development of the Dartford area. A growing railway, with modern infrastructure to support it, can only help to regenerate the surrounding area and boost the local economy.
“Working with our partners, we have been able to provide these improvements so that passengers using Dartford station have a better start or finish to their journey. As the number of passengers travelling by train continues to grow, we will do all we can to invest in the railway in Kent to provide the best possible service and facilities.”
Robert Moore, area manager for Kent at the HCA, said: “The updated station will not only be a great addition to Dartford and benefit the commuter, but it will act as a catalyst, adding value to other sites to be developed in the local and wider area, such as the old co-op in the town centre, which will be brought to market next year.”
Councillor Jeremy Kite, leader of Dartford Borough Council, said: “I know that local passengers have put up with a lot during the building of our new station but now it’s here, I hope that it will seem worthwhile. It’s a modern, well-equipped station which the town has been waiting for and deserves.”
Charles Horton, managing director of Southeastern, said: “This major project is one of the biggest on our network and part of our ongoing commitment to invest in and improve rail services for our passengers. The station is an important gateway to Dartford and offers the vital first impression of the community. This is a fantastic new station and we’re really pleased with it – we hope our passengers are too.”
Dartford is a key commuter station along the north Kent route, linking the three routes into London with Gravesend and Medway towns. The new station has been developed to meet the needs of nearly four million passengers who travel to and from Dartford every year.
Work is due to start on the next phase of work soon which will include demolishing adjacent railway buildings, providing additional car parking - including disabled parking bays – and cycle storage facilities.