Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Manchester Victoria rail station to get £9 million makeover

The northern Manchester rail station, which dates back to 160 years ago, is to have £9 million spent on it as part of a restoration project. The station provides the only train services available from Manchester to Oldham, taking commuters to Oldham Mumps, Werneth and Mills Hill, as well as Shaw and Rochdale.

A report in February by the Travelwatch passenger watchdog has stated that Victoria doesn't provide a welcoming environment for the five million passengers who use it every year.

Plans were unveiled 2 years ago proposing a £300 million redevelopment of the station, which would have involved the station’s leaking roof being replaced with a large new one in the shape of a boomerang to cover the station’s concourse, Metrolink platforms, and new shops, bars and restaurants, as well as offices and apartment blocks to be built behind the station and a new extension to Chetham’s School of Music at the front of the station. However, such redevelopment has been put on hold by the current economic climate.

Regardless of the economic climate, Network Rail says badly-needed improvements will still go ahead within the next 5 years, with the priority being a replacement for the leaking roof which was shattered by the IRA bomb in 1996. Jo Kaye, Network Rail’s new Route Director, has said "We are in talks with both the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and Manchester council about a scheme that could potentially, be worth in excess of £7m. As well as the roof, there will be £2m of improvements to passenger waiting areas, toilets, the footbridge, and security measures."

Additionally, new passenger facilities (including customer information screens, CCTV and improved public address systems) are to be installed at seven railway stations in Bolton and Wigan: Bromley Cross, Daisy Hill, Farnworth, Lostock, Atherton, Hag Fold and Hindley.

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