Passengers are set to benefit from £15m of improvements to car parking facilities at stations across England after four schemes made successful bids for rail industry funding.
The successful projects, to be delivered by the train operators, will see single and multi-decked car parking extensions at four stations where demand for car parking has outgrown available facilities.
Banbury Station on the M40 corridor looks set to be the biggest winner for Chiltern Railways with construction of a new 707 space multi story car park, Harpenden Station is next with a single deck extension allowing upto 220 additional cars on the busy First Capital Connect. South West Trains Winchester Station is next with a single deck car park extension allowing another 113 cars and Hatfield Peverel on the Greater Anglian franchise will see a single deck extension providing an additional 100 car parking spaces.
The schemes are part of the third and final wave of successful bids from a £100m station improvement fund, launched in 2011 by Network Rail, the Department for Transport and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). To be eligible, proposals must have a benefit to passengers and also reduce the overall public subsidy for rail by generating a financial return to the Department for Transport.
Rail Minister Norman Baker said: “This is good news for commuters, and good news for the railway. Adding capacity to heavily used station car parks makes it more likely people will park the car and take the train rather than try to drive the whole way. This initiative fits in well with the work we are doing to make the door to door journey smoother and lower in carbon.”
Robin Gisby, managing director, network operations at Network Rail, said: “This is a great example of the rail industry working together to improve the passenger experience without increasing the burden on the taxpayer. We have now allocated almost £100m towards projects which will improve passengers’ experience of travelling by rail and help us deliver a better value for money railway.”
Alec McTavish, director of policy and planning at ATOC, said: “The whole industry is committed to working together more effectively to deliver a better railway for passengers and a more efficient railway for taxpayers.
“The improvements made now will raise the value of rail franchises overall, which will generate more money for the Government and reduce the need for taxpayer subsidy in the future. We have been impressed at each stage of this programme with the innovative approaches from bidders in finding ways to make passengers’ and taxpayers’ money go further.”
The first successful bids were announced in August 2011, with funding totalling £21m allocated to 16 projects. The second wave in November 2011 saw 21 successful bids with total funding of £57m allocated.
In addition to the four projects announced today, 10 further bids have already been funded meaning £26m will be invested in the final tranche.
Throughout the bidding process there has been no cap on the maximum value of proposals and bids have been welcomed from third party organisations as well as the rail industry