Passengers using Whitton station will now benefit from £5 million worth of upgrades at their station, after Network Rail’s route managing director, Becky Lumlock, officially marked the completion of the final phase of the upgrade – a new, fully-accessible footbridge – alongside MP for Twickenham, Dr Tania Mathias, and representatives from Richmond Borough Council, the Rugby Football Union and South West Trains.
The new bridge, which also provides two lifts for passengers, was completed in November 2016 and is the final phase of the improvements which began in March 2015.
During this time, the enormous investment in the station has provided passengers with refurbished platforms and canopies as well as a completely refurbished station building, a new fully-accessible toilet and an improved station forecourt and cycle racks.
The opening event was led by Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, who commented: “Our Railway Upgrade Plan is delivering better stations and better journeys across the region, and the £5 million that has been invested here will make a real difference to passengers, providing them with a more pleasant and more welcoming station.
“The number of passengers using the railway is growing at a fantastic rate, and by investing in making the railway more accessible we can help to make sure that everyone can take advantage of the improvements we’re making.”
MP for Twickenham, Dr Tania Mathias, said: "I welcome the new facilities and upgrade of Whitton station. The presence of local councillors, the RFU and senior South West Trains and Network Rail staff at the official opening shows the recognised importance of this station to local residents and the numerous visitors who use the station. I particularly welcome the improved access."
Richmond Council's Cabinet Member Highways and Streetscene, Cllr Peter Buckwell, said: "We have worked tremendously hard over the years with our partners at Network Rail and the RFU to help make this major £5million improvement programme happen at Whitton station. Today's official unveiling of this new, fully accessible footbridge is a proud day for us and marks the completion of the final phase of these upgrades.
"The new bridge provides two lifts for passengers and since the work began in March 2015 our £450k investment alongside a similar amount from the RFU, has helped to provide passengers with refurbished platforms and canopies and a new station building which houses a new ticket office, new retail unit, new accessible toilet and an improved station forecourt and cycle racks.
"Richmond Council has already made a big investment in transforming Whitton high street through our Uplift Programme which complements the major upgrade work at Whitton station. We are all very proud of the work that has gone on in Whitton over the years. It will make a big difference to the local community and leave a long-lasting legacy."
Chris Donnelly, community engagement officer for the RFU, said: “The RFU invests significantly in the local community and will continue to do so. Many of our neighbours and supporters use Whitton station, and we were delighted to be able to contribute to these improvements. We hope the upgrade encourages more visitors to come to Whitton and to use the fantastic local businesses and high street.”
The investment at Whitton station was delivered jointly by Network Rail, the DfT, Richmond Borough Council and the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Adam Piddington, customer service director for South West Trains, said: “The upgrade of station facilities at Whitton is great news for all of our passengers.
“The refurbished platforms and canopies will benefit everyone, especially during autumnal and winter weather months, and the new footbridge and lifts will ensure that the station is as accessible as possible.
“We will continue to work with industry partners to improve accessibility across the South West Trains network.”
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.