Network Rail will deliver this phase of the work after planning permission was granted recently by St Helens Council. It follows on from the construction of part of the new car park earlier this year.
The scheme will see a new station entrance established on the south of the tracks on Alfred Street. It will see a number of improvements for passengers including:
· A new ticket office at the south entrance
· Step free access to and between the platforms via a new subway and lifts
· New toilet facilities
· Bus interchange adjacent to the new ticket office
· Dedicated drop-off and pick-up area
· Improved passenger waiting facilities
· Secure cycle parking
The new facilities are expected to be ready for public use in March 2018.
The overall scheme is costing £17.95m and is funded by the Local Growth Fund and Merseytravel. It is a key project in Merseytravel’s Long Term Rail Strategy and the Growth Deal for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, as well as the St Helens Local Development Framework. It forms part of the wider £340m investment by the Liverpool City Region in rail improvements over the next three years.
The improvements to the station, currently managed by train operator Northern, aim to help create a strategic transport hub, linking up to the local transport network with strategic rail links across the country, building on the electrification works that have already taken place on the Liverpool-to-Manchester line. It will also help support the future development of the nearby former Parkside Colliery site.
The start of work on the new station building means that the existing car park for the station at Alfred Street will close from Monday 28th November, with the 100 spaces transferring over to a section of the new car park on the site of the former Mill Green School, which will be access from the junction next to the Millstone Pub on Mill Lane.
The number of spaces currently available in the new park is capped at 100 in response to temporary restrictions in the planning permission granted by St Helens Council due to restricted access to the site.
The full car-park facility, which will have 400-spaces, is scheduled to open in March 2018 when the full scheme is completed.
Pedestrian access to the north entrance will be maintained throughout the works, but vehicle access will be restricted from January onwards. Provision for blue-badge parking will be provided, with full details to be published on the Merseytravel website in advance.
A north entrance to the station will still be available once the scheme is completed.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel said: “The start of work on the rail elements of the redeveloped Newton-le-Willows station is great news for the local area.
“The new station and park and ride facilities will establish a transport hub which will link local transport with strategic rail links across the country, and is a prime example of our Long Term Rail Strategy being put into practice.
“The new facilities will offer a big improvement to passengers, providing more park and ride opportunities and better integration with the local bus network.”
Terry Strickland, Area Director Network Rail said: “The new station at Newton-le-Willows is part of the £340 million investment in the railway of the Liverpool City Region that aims to deliver a better rail network that will boost connectivity and improve capacity within the city region and beyond.”
Sharon Keith, Regional Director at Northern said: “The redevelopment of the station is a vital step in delivering further service improvements to our customers in Newton-le-Willows and the surrounding area.
“The integrated transport hub – and increased car parking facilities – will lay the foundations to allow more people to use the railway. Foundations Northern will build upon with our commitment to introduce new and refurbished trains across the network.”
St Helens Council’s cabinet member for growth, Cllr John Fulham,
said: “It’s great to see the next stage of the Newton-le-Willows station development up and running.
“The area has such a rich railway heritage which will soon be matched with a top class train station following a significant investment by the City Region and Merseytravel.
“This council is serious about regeneration and the new station will be a crucial part of our plans to create thousands of much needed new jobs at the nearby Parkside site.
“This investment follows the recent electrification of the line and lets the region and the rest of the country know that St Helens is open for business.”
Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, said: “I welcome the commencement of work to transform facilities at Newton-le-Willows station.
“Good transport infrastructure and connectivity across Merseyside and the North of England is vital to economic growth and regeneration in our region.
“Local residents and businesses will undoubtedly benefit from this significant investment by Merseytravel and the Local Growth Fund, and travelling to and from Newton-le-Willows station will be a much improved experience for commuters when the works are completed.”