Gillingham and Rainham MP, Rehman Chishti, joined Network Rail and Medway councillors to mark the beginning of work on a new entrance and ticket office at Gillingham station which will provide easier access and better facilities for passengers.
Mr Chishti said: “I welcome the upgrading of Gillingham station; the work will transform the station into something that we can all be proud of.”
Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, said: “An important part of building a bigger and better railway is to make it easier to access and provide facilities at stations which better meet the needs of today’s passengers. This upgrade at Gillingham will bring long-lasting benefits for the thousands who use it every day.”
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “I’m delighted to see the start of a project that will provide real benefits for residents using the station on a daily basis and for those visiting Gillingham.
“This is a significant step in a series of measures to transform Medway and will mean we have first class facilities in place as we head towards the London 2012 Olympics, for which Medway Park, based in Gillingham will be an athlete’s training base.”
Vince Lucas, Southeastern’s service delivery director added: “The improvements planned for Gillingham will have a real benefit, not only for our passengers, but also for the environment around the station. The railway is important to the local community and on the back of the recent awarding of Secure Station status it illustrates the commitment we all have to the area.
The upgrade, which is being funded jointly through the national stations improvement programme and Community Infrastructure Fund and in partnership with Medway Council, includes:
– Extending and refurbishing the station building to provide more space for passengers to circulate
– Creating a striking, new glass entrance which will allow more natural light into the building
– Upgrading passenger toilets to be accessible to those with reduced mobility and refurbishing the waiting rooms
– Installing new cycle storage facilities and CCTV cameras making it more convenient and secure for passengers who ride their bikes to the station
– Refurbishing the roofing to the platforms and the over-bridge and installing secondary glazing to the high level walkway between the ticket hall and lifts
– Installing new ticket vending machines and ticket gates, creating a new second passenger entrance on Railway Street.
The station will remain open to passengers with minimal disruption throughout the construction. Temporary hoardings will be put up at the main entrance to allow passengers to continue safely using the existing ticket office facilities and ticket gates.
The work, which is being delivered by Network Rail, is expected to be completed by summer 2011.