Rail Minister Claire Perry MP visited Newcastle Central Station on 22 July 2015 to view progress made on the Department for Transport multi-million pound funded improvement scheme.
The Â£22 million Newcastle Station redevelopment scheme is part financed by the Department for Transportâ€™s (DfT) Station Commercial Project Facility Fund. Plans to transform the station building and surrounding area are well underway with the creation of a new pedestrianised space at the front of the station and a new travel centre with better toilet facilities and clearer signs. There are also new cycle storage facilities, improved road, cycle and taxi access to the station, and the number of shops at the station has doubled. Work has been carried out by East Coast and Network Rail, in partnership with Newcastle City Council, local businesses and tourism bodies.
Commenting on the DfTâ€™s Â£8.6 million investment, Rail Minister Claire Perry said: â€œThe investment at Newcastle Station, coupled with the plans for future improvements, has transformed the station and its surroundings, and is a great example of this governmentâ€™s commitment to building a Northern Powerhouse.
â€œThe Â£22 million of investment here is not only transforming the passenger experience, but also regenerating the local area and creating a truly impressive gateway to this great city. I am delighted that passengers, residents and local businesses are seeing the benefits.â€
Tim Hedley-Jones, Major Projects Director at Virgin Trains East Coast, added: â€œWe were delighted to welcome the minister to Newcastle Central Station today. We are very proud of the station improvements which have attracted a fantastic response from our customers.â€
Work to transform the surrounding area as part of the Newcastle Central Gateway development is ongoing. However, work already completed, with the help of Â£4.95 million from the Regional Growth Fund, includes improved road and cycle access and 2 new hotels. Future work, including a new southern entrance to the station and refurbishment of the Metro station will be supported by Â£8.5 million from the governmentâ€™s Growth Deal.
In addition to the station development, rail operators in the north west and north east are currently piloting a scheme that allows customers to buy and download rail tickets directly to their mobile phones. If the trial is successful, the industry will explore how it can be introduced on other routes in the region.