Work to create an exciting 10-year masterplan for the redevelopment of Plymouth Rail Station and the surrounding area is now under way.
The 10-year plan, which is one of Plymouth City Council’s 100 pledges, will be developed in partnership with station owner Network Rail, station operator First Great Western and Plymouth University.
As well as improving capacity at the station it aims to create a more welcoming ‘gateway’ to the city, revitalising the area around the station and its approaches.
Rail is the most important public transport mode for longer distance trips to and from Plymouth and the rail station has seen consistent passenger growth of about four per cent each year over the last decade. Footfall is now in excess of 2.5 million a year, compared with 1.4 million in 2002/2003 and the station needs more capacity to deal with increasing passenger numbers as both the population and rail use continue to grow.
The start of work on the plan follows the recent announcement of a multi-million-pound investment package for the city centre, which includes a new inter-city coach hub on the site of the closed Mayflower West multi-storey car park.
It will also build on the recent investment made by the Council (part-funded by the Department for Transport and Sustrans) to improve pedestrian and cycle access to the station, complemented by improvements made by First Great Western to the entrance and passenger waiting area.
These have included the extension of the concourse, new customer information screens and improvements to waiting areas and toilets. A major upgrade of the pedestrian subway within the station is also now under way.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “Plymouth is the leading economic driver in the far South West and needs a railway and a station that are fit for the 21st century. A city with a population of 261,000 and growing, it also deserves a more welcoming gateway than is currently offered. This plan will transform the station and its surroundings over the next 10 years and create a regional rail hub that can better match Plymouth’s growth aspirations.”
Sarah McManus, Major Projects Manager for First Great Western said: “First Great Western is pleased to be working with Plymouth City Council, Network Rail and Plymouth University to develop plans for the station. We know the importance the Council and the city place on good, resilient rail links and we are delighted to be part of the group that will now work together to take plans forward. We are currently working on a £500,000 upgrade to the station subway. Formal consultation has also started on a timetable change that will see an earlier arrival into Plymouth from London.”
Professor Julian Beer, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional Enterprise) at Plymouth University, said: “As a city with great ambitions, Plymouth deserves a transport system that enables residents, students and businesses alike to stay connected with the rest of the UK. The railway station is a vital gateway to the city, and through the 10-year plan we are working to create a memorable first impression for all who use it. This is an important project for the University and the city and, combined with other recent infrastructure investments and expanding innovation and enterprise programmes, we are creating a platform for Plymouth to thrive in the future.”