A new transport interchange has opened at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside, featuring a new subway, stairs, lifts, ticket office and improve passenger waiting facilities.
The £18.95m scheme, funded by the Local Growth Fund and Merseytravel, also provides step free access to and between the platforms via the new subway and lifts, a bus interchange adjacent to the new ticket office, and a dedicated drop-off and pick-up area.
Parking capacity has increased from 80 to 400 spaces with the opening of a new car park, along with additional cycle parking and two electric vehicle charging points.
The interchange has been built next to Newton-le-Willows rail station, one of the oldest in the UK, which opened in 1830. The listed building is currently vacant.
Plans are being drawn up by developers Langtree and St Helens Council to develop the derelict Parkside colliery site on the south-eastern edge of Newton-le-Willows, into a new employment park. The new rail station is linked to the Parkside development via the bus interchange.
The rail elements of the scheme were delivered by Network Rail on behalf of Merseytravel. The scheme is a key project in Merseytravel’s Long Term Rail Strategy and the Growth Deal for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, as well as the St Helens Local Development Framework.
It forms part of the Great North Rail Project, including the wider £340m investment by the Liverpool City Region and Network Rail in rail improvements.
The scheme forms part of bigger plans to develop Liverpool City Region, as set out in the City Region’s Strategic Economic Plan. In 2013, £1bn of capital investment began on two key projects – the Mersey Gateway and Liverpool2.
A Liverpool City Region spokeswoman said: “The improvements at Newton-le-Willows railway station are designed to develop the station as a public transport hub for the eastern areas of St Helens. This will provide public transport links to the Parkside Strategic Rail Freight Interchange to the south of the station and the wider City Region.”
The improvements to the station, which is managed by train operator Northern, aim to help create a strategic hub, linking the local transport network with strategic rail links across the country.
This builds on the electrification works completed on the Liverpool-to-Manchester line in 2015 and the new services that are calling at the station. It will also help support the future development of the nearby former Parkside Colliery site.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said: “Through schemes like this, we are directly investing in our public transport system to deliver an improved service across the city region, enabling better access to a host of opportunities for work, education and leisure.”
Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “The opening of the new and improved facilities at Newton-le-Willows is great news for local rail users and we thank them for the patience they have shown while the work has been taking place.
“The project team have faced a number of challenges in the construction of the new facilities but they have managed to deliver the scheme while keeping the station open and services running on the busy Manchester to Liverpool line.
“The new station and park & ride facilities are a significant investment by the Liverpool City Region. They will establish a transport hub which will link local transport through bus and rail with strategic rail links across the country, and is a prime example of our Long Term Rail Strategy being put into practice.”
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “This government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and building an economy which is fit for our shared future.
“The Liverpool to Manchester Railway was the birthplace of modern train travel when it opened in 1830 and this investment from the Local Growth Fund to transform Newton-le-Willows station will ensure it is at the forefront of connecting the people and businesses of these great cities of the Northern Powerhouse for many years to come.”
Find out more about the interchange at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/newton-le-willows
For the very latest on new transport interchanges come to the Rail Stations & Property Summit 2019
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