The £82 million transformation of Coventry Railway Station has been officially completed.
The major project at one of the fastest growing stations outside London has involved creating a purpose-built station building and striking entrance featuring public art.
The opening of the new station building coincides with the 60-year anniversary of the opening of the existing Grade II listed station in 1962. A celebration event is being planned later in the spring to mark the occasion.
Passengers can also now use a new footbridge to reach platforms one, two, three and four which is connected to the new multi-storey 629-space car-park.
Passengers will be able to access the station directly from Station Square, alongside new entrances on Warwick Road which will enable access to the new cycle hub, footbridge and station building plus an additional entrance point under Warwick Road where a direct access tunnel has been built, linking the station to the new transport interchange that will be opening next weekend.
The concourse areas feature five retail units, waiting rooms and toilets. There are new lifts for passengers to use while a secure cycle hub has been installed along with electric vehicle charging points.
An embroidered ‘Welcome to Coventry’ sign from local artists Charis Esther and Luisa Freitas which has involved dozens of community groups, charities and schools producing embroidery work has formed a mural at the station, and further artwork will be unveiled later in the year.
There are also improved public realm works outside the station including a new pedestrian boulevard and a visitor information pod to help visitors arriving in the city.
A new vehicle drop-off area for passengers has been created in Station Square while there will be 20 minutes free parking in the new multi-storey car park to pick-up passengers. The new station car-park is accessed off Eaton Road. The new taxi loop, which opened last year, is next to the boulevard in front of the existing station building.
Coventry City Council has worked in partnership with Network Rail, Avanti West Coast and other rail operators, Transport for West Midlands, Friargate JV Project Ltd and other stakeholders on the regeneration programme.
The Coventry Station Masterplan project has been funded by £39.4 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Deal and £27.5 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and funds from Coventry City Council.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said: “I am pleased that we are finally able to welcome people to the new extension of our transformed railway station. The new build sits alongside the original station which will celebrate its 60th birthday this year – another fine example of how we are combining the best of the old with the best of the new.
“Together, Coventry station is now perfectly equipped to meet the needs of our residents, visitors and businesses. We’ve made improvements that will ensure that the station is an efficient and accessible building for all and one that is set up to match the growing use.
“For many people, the station is the first thing they see upon arriving to Coventry. First impressions count and now this impressive building will give people a warm Coventry welcome. There are improvements for cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and bus users too. All with the aim of encouraging people to choose public transport for some of their journeys.”
Tony Minhas, CWLEP board director, said: “It has been great to watch the transformation take place and we now have a railway station which will showcase the city and the region to visitors from across the UK and the world especially during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer.
“The new station is also pivotal to our future talent pipeline ensuring the skills our economy needs from apprentices to post-graduates can move around the city and the region.
“The funds from CWLEP have played a vital role in improving the transport infrastructure of the area as well as boosting the local economy, and will make a positive difference for years to come.”
As well as contributing £39.4 million to the redevelopment, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is also investing in the wider regeneration of Coventry and delivering transport improvements including the WM On Demand bus service, All-Electric Bus City scheme and recent refurbishment of Pool Meadow Bus Station.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “It is great to see the railway station open after all the hard work which has gone into its development. It is a fitting gateway for the city and I am pleased we have been able to play our part in making it happen.
“These are incredibly exciting times for Coventry. Not only have we got the ongoing development at Friargate with work soon to start on the City Centre South regeneration scheme, but City of Culture is ongoing and Coventry has, of course, been named the UK’s first electric bus city.
“The WMCA has been a key investor in many of these projects and will continue to support the ongoing transformation of Coventry through key developments such as a new very light rail transport system.” Natasha Grice, Executive Director Stations at Avanti West Coast, said: “The new look station will transform the experience of customers heading to the city by rail. I’ve been watching excitedly as the new station has taken shape and I can’t wait to see the reaction of our passengers when they arrive at Coventry as we look forward to welcoming more visitors to the city in the coming months.”
Lead photo: From the left, Maria McCarron (Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Coventry), Malcolm Holmes (director of rail Transport for West Midlands/West Midlands Combined Authorty), Tony Minhas (CWLEP board director) and Cllr Jim O’Boyle (Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director) outside the transformed Coventry Railway Station