Plans for a new £26m railway station in Rochester have been revealed.
Network Rail is proposing to build the new station as part of its commitment to increase capacity on the railway and deliver better facilities for passengers in Medway and Kent.
The new station, which is planned for land at Corporation Street, is part of a wider £135m investment programme in the county by Network Rail as the number of passengers using the railway continues to grow.
A formal planning application is due to be submitted to Medway Council by Network Rail this spring. Passengers and local residents can find out more about the proposal at Rochester station between Wednesday 10 April and Friday 12 April.
Network Rail will be at the station between 7am and 10.30am and 4pm and 6.30pm on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to provide information and answer questions about the proposals.
Details will also be available at a display at Medway Council offices at Gun Wharf, Chatham, on the same dates.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “The proposed new station will deliver a huge boost to Rochester and Medway. It will provide passengers with improved facilities and give better access to the town centre and surrounding area.
“The new station will be able to accommodate longer trains than the current station, helping boost capacity and providing more seats for passengers. An integrated transport hub will provide better links to other types of public transport.
“The development will also help kick-start the wider regeneration of the Riverside area, which is an important part of the development of Rochester. These public information events at the station and council offices are an opportunity to find out more about the proposals before a formal planning application is submitted to Medway Council later this year.”
Councillor Rodney Chambers, Medway Council leader and regeneration lead, said: “If this proposal gets the go ahead it will lead to a new, better train station for Rochester which will result in a quicker, more reliable service with more space for passengers.
“Rochester – like the rest of Medway – is benefitting from regeneration and more and more people are viewing it as a place to buy a family home and commute from.
“The number of rail passengers is forecast to grow significantly and freeing up this space for a new station will not only improve the service for commuters and other passengers, but also make sure it grows with future demand.
“It would also result in the train station moving closer to the centre of Rochester, and the places that visitors come to, and give local people a newer, better station that is easier to get to and has better links with local bus services.”
The new station will have three platforms, all of which will be able to accommodate longer trains with up to 12 carriages, and better facilities for passengers including accessible toilets with baby changing facilities, cycle racks and retail. There will also be step-free access to all platforms and improved station car parking.
The east Kent resignalling project will see £135m invested in the railway by winter 2015, which is when the new Rochester station is due to open. It includes extending platforms at Strood station, an additional platform at Rainham station, renewing signalling equipment between Longfield and Sittingbourne and Beltring and Strood, upgrading seven level crossings, and reducing journey times between Rochester and Meopham. The investment is part of Network Rail’s continued upgrade of the railway and will contribute to reduced passenger journey times, lower operating costs and a more reliable infrastructure.
The new station is due to be completed in winter 2015 when it will be operated as the current station is by Southeastern.