Rail Minister visits construction site of new Wakefield Westgate station
14 May 2013 • Author: Network Rail
Minister lays bricks for £8.8 million project to construct the first new-build station on the East Coast Main Line in decades.
Rt Hon Simon Burns MP, the Minister of State for Transport, today visited the construction site of the new Wakefield Westgate station and helped to lay bricks that will be used in the construction.
The Minister visited to see progress on the £8.8 million project to create a new gateway to the city, which has been transformed in recent years by high-profile schemes including the Merchant Gate development and Hepworth Gallery.
The station will be the first newly-constructed station building on the East Coast Main Line in decades. It follows recent significant station modernisation projects on the route at London King’s Cross and Peterborough, as well current projects at Newcastle Central and Edinburgh Waverley.
The new Westgate station building will significantly improve facilities for customers, including:
- More and better retail facilities
- A new footbridge and lifts linking the platforms
- A new travel centre
- A new First Class Lounge and Standard waiting area
- Installation of ticket gates to improve passenger safety and combat fare evasion
- Improved integration with local buses and taxis
The new station will complement the refurbished customer facilities on the northbound platform and recently completed 900-space multi-storey car park.
Construction work on the project began earlier this year and the new station is due to open in November. The site has been cleared and prepared, concrete piling columns for the foundations have been installed and the steel frame of the building is due to be erected imminently.
Minister of State for Transport Rt Hon Simon Burns MP said: “The potential of this multi-million pound scheme is plain to see and, together with the Merchant Gate development, will provide a new gateway to Wakefield, helping to transform the city.
“This station, made possible with government support, will be the first newly-built station on the East Coast Main Line for decades and will show the world that Wakefield is open for business.
“This is part of the wider programme of infrastructure investment which will see billions spent on the network over the coming years, helping to drive economic growth and reinvigorate the railways.”
East Coast and Network Rail are working closely with Metro to ensure the new station delivers high quality facilities for local as well as long-distance rail travellers.
East Coast Stations and Property Director Tim Hedley-Jones said: “We are delighted that the Minister was able to join us to see progress on the new Westgate station and even lend a hand in the building work.
“Construction of the new station is progressing well and we look forward to opening it later this year, so that all passengers can benefit from the improved facilities. Wakefield will have an impressive gateway to welcome visitors and the newest station on the East Coast Main Line.”
Network Rail Route Managing Director Phil Verster said: “It is an exciting time for the railway in Wakefield. This new station plus the extensive refurbishment and improvement being completed across the city at Kirkgate will provide visitors with a better impression of Wakefield as well as improving facilities for regular travellers. We know that our stations provide important gateways to the cities they serve and can help to attract investment and regeneration and look forward to that being the case in Wakefield.”
During the visit the Minister was joined by Wakefield Council Leader Coun. Peter Box. Representing Metro was Chairman Coun. James Lewis and Wakefield District spokesperson Coun. Yvonne Crewe.
Wakefield Council Leader Coun. Peter Box CBE said: “The new Wakefield Westgate Station is fantastic news for the district. The rail station has always been an integral part of the master plan for the re-development of the area. It will be a key gateway into the city, providing improved transport facilities for residents and visitors.”
Metro Chairman Coun. James Lewis said: “The rebuilt Wakefield Westgate Rail station will make the local, regional and national rail network more accessible and integrated, and shows how investing in our public transport networks can help regenerate and re-energise our major towns and cities. As part of the supporting work, Metro is proposing to provide bus real-time display screens in the station concourse and at the new bus stop and shelter outside the new station forecourt on Mulberry Way for the Wakefield freecitybus.”
The scheme is supported by £6.8 million from the Station Commercial Project Facility fund and a further £1 million from the Access for All fund, which is targeted towards step-free access projects. The remaining £1 million is being provided by the English Cities Fund (ECf), a joint venture between Muse Developments Ltd, the Homes and Communities Agency and Legal & General. ECf was responsible for the delivery of the new railway car park and the recently opened Wakefield One council offices.
Wakefield Westgate is a key station on East Coast’s route, providing connections to London for a significant part of West Yorkshire. There are currently 32 direct East Coast services from Wakefield Westgate to London each weekday, with a fastest journey time of 1 hour 47 minutes on the weekday flagship ‘West Riding Limited’ service leaving Leeds at 07.00, calling only at Wakefield Westgate at 07.12 and arriving at London King’s Cross at 08.59.