Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening is to officially unveil major improvements made at Southampton Central, marking the 250th station to benefit from the National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP). A transport hub for the region, Southampton Central station, which is operated by South West Trains, welcomes almost six million passengers through its doors every year, with good links to destinations throughout the UK including Portsmouth, Basingstoke and Waterloo. All the station’s passengers will benefit from the improvements that have been newly completed under NSIP, which include:
• A new art deco style station frontage
• An improved transport interchange for taxis and buses and a drop-off area
• A new and enlarged waiting area with additional seating
• A larger booking hall and improved ticket facilities
• State-of-the-art destination information screens
• New toilets and a wheelchair accessible toilet
Established three years ago with £150 million of Government funding, the cross-industry NSIP has brought better stations to millions of passengers in England and Wales, exceeding original targets and expectations. NSIP aimed to deliver improvements to a minimum of 150 stations between 2009 and 2014. Southampton Central represents the 250th station to benefit from the project, and the number continues to rise thanks to the success of the rail industry in attracting external funding for local improvements.
The £2.4 million renovation at Southampton, completed by Osborne, was funded by NSIP with additional contributions from South West Trains, Southampton City Council, and the Railway Heritage Trust, representing in excess of £1 million of additional money to the original NSIP investment.
Jake Kelly, Customer Service Director for the South West Trains and Network Rail alliance, along with Tom Smith and John Pengelly, co-chairs of the NSIP Board, will welcome the Transport Secretary to the refurbished station today (Monday 11 June). They will be joined by representatives from Southampton City Council and the project architects among others.
Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening, who studied Economics at Southampton University and started her career with PWC Southampton said: “These improvements are fantastic news for Southampton and the whole region, delivering real benefits for passengers and the community in general.
“I am also delighted to be celebrating the 250th station to benefit from the National Station Improvement Programme. This initiative is helping to regenerate communities, create jobs and boost growth throughout the country.”
Jake Kelly, commented: “This improvement project has given Southampton Central station a greater presence in the region and will encourage more passengers to travel by rail to work and for pleasure. The vastly improved modern facilities we’ve added will make passenger journeys more comfortable.”
Speaking on behalf of the NSIP Board, Tom Smith, Chairman of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “The National Stations Improvement Programme is a great example of what the industry can achieve by working together. Train companies and Network Rail have worked closely with a range of local groups to ensure that improvements made to stations reflect passengers’ needs and expectations, while delivering value for money.
“Research by the independent watchdog Passenger Focus shows that the level of passenger satisfaction at NSIP stations has risen by over 40%. Thanks to the considerable success the programme has had in attracting third party funding, it will bring better stations to hundreds of thousands more passengers than originally hoped.”
Councillor Asa Thorpe, Southampton City Council Cabinet member for Transport said: “The improvements to the Station Quarter give our city the impressive rail gateway it has craved for so long. By working with strategic partners and our own officers, we aim to make Southampton an even better place to live, visit and do business. The new-look station will significantly enhance our transport interchange and enable easy access to improved bus service and facilities. It is my hope that we can quickly build on this excellent start made to our environment and transport network.”