An increasingly busy Lancashire railway station has received more than £1 million of improvements to help provide a better welcome for record numbers of passengers.
New lifts and more attractive subways linking platforms at Preston station have made it more pleasant for passengers.
Two subways have been completely refurbished, together with ramps to and from platforms. Cladding has been replaced, brickwork cleaned and flooring resurfaced. Brighter lighting and clearer information displays have been introduced. Four new lifts have also been installed.
The project was carried out through partnership between Virgin Trains and Network Rail, with funding from the Department for Transport’s National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP), aimed at bringing about a noticeable and lasting improvement in the environment at stations.
Further enhancements are expected to be announced for Preston station later this year.
Linsey Robinson, Station Manager for Virgin Trains, the company that manages the station, said: “With the station now being used by almost five million passengers a year – nearly one third of a million more than three years earlier – the improvement is very welcome.
“The subway refurbishment has achieved access that is dry, non-slip, light and clean. This is a significant improvement on what was there before. The renewal of the lifts is a real boon to people with disabilities and passengers with heavy luggage.”
Network Rail route director Jo Kaye said: “Not only is Preston a key station on the West Coast route but it is also a vital interchange point for Blackpool and for passengers going to and from East Lancashire and Yorkshire. I am pleased the work is finished and everyone can now benefit from the improvements.”
Between 2007-08 and 2009-10, the total number of passengers using Preston station annually grew from 4,593,743 to 4,905,063. The latest station usage figures from the Office of Rail Regulation also show that more than one million of these annual passengers interchanged between trains.
Preston station gained a new car park in June 2009, offering 470 more spaces than before, as part of another joint project between Virgin Trains and Network Rail.
The station is served by a wide range of trains on the West Coast mainline between Scotland and London and on routes across England.