Slough Borough Council, First Great Western and Network Rail joined Jeanette Chippington, gold medal winning Paralympian, at the launch of Slough Railway Station’s multimillion pound upgrade.
The improvements to the Grade II listed railway station include a major programme of investment which has helped turn it into a brighter, more spacious and easily accessible transport hub in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. The upgrade work includes three main elements:
station forecourt improvements delivered as part of the local infrastructure improvements – delivered by Slough Borough Council, as part of the £450 million Heart of Slough regeneration project
a new footbridge and lifts to provide step-free access to all platforms – delivered by Network Rail
major improvements to the station building including new customer information point, upgraded ticket hall, waiting rooms and toilets - delivered by First Great Western.
Work to upgrade the station forecourt was carried out in five phases starting in January 2012 and ending earlier this month (May). The forecourt now includes a new taxi waiting/pick up area, a new passenger drop off section and newly paved entrance to the station with trees and forecourt furniture. The high quality upgrade provides a pedestrian friendly environment for all those coming in and out of Slough.
As part of the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme, Network Rail has installed three new lifts and a new footbridge, providing step-free access between the station entrances and all six platforms for the first time. The £4m project started at the end of August 2011 and finished in May 2012.
First Great Western has invested £0.9million to improve the station with a new ticket office, new toilets, new customer information point, and new staff accommodation.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “With the Olympics only two months away, I’m pleased these major access improvements at Slough Station are being unveiled today.
“The Coalition Government wants everyone to enjoy the Olympics while providing a legacy of better transport for generations to come. This local scheme will remove barriers to work and leisure travel for disabled passengers. Nationally, we’ve invested £6.5bn upgrading transport links for the Games to improve services and boost economic development.
“This is also a great example of key organisations - including Slough Borough Council, First Great Western, Network Rail and my department - working together effectively locally to improve facilities and meet community needs.”
Councillor James Swindlehurst, commissioner for neighbourhoods and renewal said: “The improvements to the station forecourt are part of the council’s work to upgrade gateways to the town, and forms part of the public realm improvements of the Heart of Slough regeneration scheme.
“We want Slough to be an attractive destination for travellers, and arriving here to be pleasant and easy; with clear signage, directions and straightforward transfers to other transport. New trees and lighting have improved the station forecourt, drop off and taxi arrangements have better-planned dedicated zones, and new paving marks out clear routes to the bus station and town centre.
“Given that Slough Railway Station is a major transport hub for the Olympic rowing events at Eton Dorney, we hope the improvements to the station will offer an enhanced travelling experience to the thousands of spectators and athletes expected to visit the area.”
Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “Thousands of people living and working in Slough rely on the railway every day. The improvements we’re making to the station will make life easier for everyone to use the train, especially those with reduced mobility or with young children, and is part of a wider effort to stimulate the local economy through better transport links.
“We know the 2012 Olympics will be an important time for Slough as spectators will be travelling to Eton Dorney as it is the venue for the Rowing, Paralympic Rowing and Canoe Sprint events. The improvements at Slough are an example of the real legacy and investment that London 2012 is bringing beyond the capital.”
Mark Hopwood, First Great Western managing director, said: “This is a great example of how we can work together with the local authority and industry partners to really deliver for customers.
“As a key Olympic Games transport hub, residents of Slough can be proud that this revitalised station will be the very first thing visitors to the town will see.”