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
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.