Passengers are set to benefit from a further £15m of improvements to stations across England after the latest round of successful bids for rail industry funding was announced.
The 10 successful projects include new and extended car parks, station redevelopments and new retail space and will be delivered by Network Rail, train operating companies and other bidders in and around stations.
The schemes form the third and final wave of successful bids for a £100m station improvement fund, launched in 2011 by Network Rail, the Department for Transport and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). To be eligible, proposals must have a benefit to passengers and also reduce the overall public subsidy for rail by generating a financial return to the Department for Transport.
Rail Minister Norman Baker said: “This is great news for passengers. If we are to encourage more people to travel by rail in the future then stations must be easier to get to and have better facilities.
“These projects will ensure that travelling on a train is a positive experience both during a journey and at the start and end of a trip so I am delighted to be able to announce this additional funding.”
Robin Gisby, managing director, network operations at Network Rail, said: “This is a fantastic example of the rail industry, local authorities and other organisations working together to improve the passenger experience without increasing the burden on the taxpayer.
“This third and final wave of successful bids means we have now allocated almost £100m towards projects which will improve passengers’ experience of travelling by rail and help us deliver a better value for money railway.”
Alec McTavish, director of policy at ATOC, said: “The whole industry is committed to working together more effectively to deliver a more efficient railway. This funding scheme is exactly the sort of vehicle that brings the benefits of closer working to the fore.
“The benefits to passengers of the scores of improvements being made to stations, depots and other facilities are clear, but equally important in this scheme are the benefits to taxpayers. The improvements made now will raise the value of rail franchises overall, which will generate more money for the Government and reduce the need for taxpayer subsidy in the future. We have been pleased and impressed at each stage of this programme with the innovative approaches from bidders in finding ways to make passengers’ and taxpayers’ money go further.”
The first successful bids were announced in August 2011, with funding totalling £21m allocated to 16 projects. The second wave in November 2011 saw 21 successful bids with total funding of £57m allocated.
In addition to the 10 projects announced today, four further bids have had funding ring-fenced, pending clarification on certain aspects of the projects. Once funding for these bids has been finalised a decision will be taken by the panel on how to proceed with the fund’s remaining monies.
Throughout the bidding process there has been no cap on the maximum value of proposals and bids have been welcomed from third party organisations as well as the rail industry. The proposals were assessed by a panel including the Department for Transport, ATOC and Network Rail.