Work is progressing well on two Network Rail schemes at Preston station worth over £1m that will make the station much more pleasant for passengers using the lifts and subways.
The station has two subways. One is linked to the platforms by ramps; the other is served by lifts.
Both subways are being completely refurbished as part of the Department for Transport’s National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) initiative to bring about a noticeable and lasting improvement in the environment at stations.
Transport Minister Chris Mole said: “The Government’s funding for this upgrade will greatly improve facilities for rail passengers travelling through Preston station, while causing the least disruption possible. We are committed to increasing capacity on the rail network and better stations are crucial for improving the experience of passengers as services increase.
“We are dedicated to transforming stations throughout the country – increasing security, improving disabled access, modernising facilities, lengthening platforms and helping passengers with their journeys.”
Network Rail route director Jo Kaye said: “The work is made possible because of a successful industry partnership, which aims to bring the best to passengers. Network Rail and Virgin Trains will continue to work hard on bringing the improvement work at the station to fruition and develop further NSIP plans across the North West.”
Linsey Robinson, Station Manager for Virgin Trains, the company that manages the station, said: “The subway refurbishment and renewal of the lifts will deliver a very positive improvement. The Virgin Trains team members at Preston are delighted at the prospect of welcoming passengers to a far more appealing environment, with subway access that is dry, non-slip, light and clean.
“We look forward to more investments transforming the station into a magnificent gateway for people arriving in the city of Preston and interchanging for other destinations including Blackpool.”
Cladding is being removed from the walls and ceilings, new cladding applied, and brickwork cleaned. The floor is being resurfaced, as are the ramps up to platform level.
New lighting is being installed and there will be ‘line of route’ information to tell passengers about the rail network around Preston.
Lancashire County Council said it was delighted that work to refurbish Preston station is underway, and it would work with industry partners to develop a master plan for the station. The council added: “Through the Community Rail Partnerships radiating from Preston it is hoped to introduce special features on the platforms to promote the station as a gateway to the Fylde Coast and East Lancashire.”
Work in the subways is being carried out in such a way that they will always be in use and there will always be sufficient width to accommodate wheelchairs.
All four lifts linking platforms one to six and the station entrance/exit are being refurbished and converted for self operation by users. The lift shafts at platform level are being cleaned and either painted or clad.
The lift on platforms one and two is the only way for passengers in wheelchairs to access the subway and other parts of the station. While the work is being carried out, a special lift operated by additional staff is being used to ‘walk’ wheelchairs up or down the stars. This was given the thumbs-up by disability groups in trials before the refurbishment started.
Work on the lifts will be completed soon and the subway work, which is being delivered by Virgin Trains, will be finished in August.