Two and three quarter million passengers a year in Bolton rely on rail – and now they are set to benefit from a major project that will completely transform the facilities available to them by this time next year.
Network Rail has started preparatory work on the £4m project, which has been paid for through the Department for Transport’s National Stations Improvement Programme – a scheme designed to improve approximately 150 medium-sized stations throughout England and Wales from 2009 to 2014. Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority is also contributing £950,000 towards the work.
Jo Kaye, Network Rail’s route director, said: “Our work at Bolton underlines Network Rail’s commitment to improving station facilities for passengers. This value for money scheme will entice people onto the railway, connecting them with jobs throughout the area.
“In the latter days of British Rail, the station entrance was moved across Trinity Street to its current location but now is the time to update the station again and give everyone who uses it 21st century facilities.”
Councillor Ian Macdonald, chair of GMITA, said: “This work will bring about a significant improvement for passengers and will make the station a modern and attractive gateway to Bolton.
“The new facilities will no doubt also encourage even more people to travel by train. So, allied to the plans for a new bus station next to the railway station, this is great news for Bolton and I am delighted that work will soon be getting underway.”
Lee Wasnidge, area director, Northern Rail said: “This work will transform the station creating a brighter, modern, more welcoming environment for passengers.”
There are two main areas of work – the station entrance and platforms.
The existing booking office, travel centre and shop will be completely stripped out, as will the toilet block and redundant parcels office. The internal walls will be removed to allow for a completely new layout to incorporate a new ticket office with four positions, one of which will be for wheelchair users.
There will be a new retail unit, lighting and security doors, and the information screens and public address systems will be relocated.
Flooring will be renewed and the walls and ceilings painted.
At platform level, the café will get a new conservatory frontage. In light of the decidion to move the train stopping point nearer the foot of the stairs to reduce the walking distance for passengers, the canopies at the northern end of platforms one/three and four will be extended to protect passengers from the elements.
The existing waiting rooms will benefit from new lighting, information screens and public address speakers, the flooring will be replaced and the walls and ceilings painted.
The existing toilets on both main platforms will be gutted and refitted with new fixtures and fittings, including disabled and baby change facilities.
New cycle stands will be provided at the ends of platforms one/three and four, and existing cycle cabinets will be relocated to these positions. There will also be new litter bins on the platforms.
Lighting will be upgraded, new seats installed along the length of the platforms and the exterior of the platform buildings will be steam cleaned.
The platform surfaces will be pressure washed and repaired and renewed as necessary, and new tactile paving installed.
Finally, passenger security will be considerably improved with the installation of a new CCTV system with monitoring and recording equipment.