Maidstone East’s station upgrade is taking shape with the completion of its new station entrance this week.
The new station entrance with a glazed front is the latest part of a £2.5m project expanding the station to accommodate thousands more passengers attracted as part of a town centre regeneration being led by Kent County Council.
The upgrade, due to be completed this spring, will see a new spacious landscaped entrance, a new roof, an attractive glass front, (which has just been added), and new facilities for passengers and staff- including a waiting room, café, ticket office and staff room.
The project teaam started construction work in September 2019, and despite some setbacks to the programme due to Covid-19 restrictions will be ready to accept increased numbers of passengers once unrestricted travel returns.
The redevelopment is being funded by the rail industry through the National Stations Improvement Programme with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund programme.
Maidstone East is the main station in the town and has regular services to London.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Route Director for Kent, said: “This milestone is another step closer to the completion of our Maidstone East station transformation and is an excellent example of the railway working in partnership with local authorities and third parties for the benefit of passengers, communities and businesses in Kent.”
As well as being a boost to rail passengers, the redevelopment is a key part of Kent County and Maidstone Borough Council’s plans to regenerate the area around the station and create a gateway to the town.
Michael Payne, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “We are delighted to see the that this impressive new station forecourt is nearing completion. The street scene now is clearly a vast improvement and it helps redefine Maidstone East as a destination station and a gateway to the town centre. This investment clearly gives further weight to the campaign supported by KCC for a better and faster Thameslink train service to connect Maidstone with the city of London”.
Caroline Wallis, Southeastern manager for Maidstone East station said: “We’re really pleased with how the upgrade to our station is progressing. It looks great and it is a much more pleasant environment. As more passengers return over the coming months I’m sure they will be impressed with how the gateway to their town is looking.”
Photo credit: Network Rail