|The temporary station at Workington North will close on 8 October, it was announced today (14 September).
The temporary station was built in November when the railway provided a vital lifeline in the aftermath of flooding. The rail industry worked quickly to ensure that the Cumbrian Coast Line kept communities connected when the road network was disrupted, and it carried unprecedented numbers of passengers.
When it first opened Workington North was used by over 2000 passengers every day but with the opening of the road bridge in April use of the temporary station has all but ceased. After a review of passenger numbers over several months, Northern Rail and its partners, in consultation with passenger representatives, have decided the time is right for the temporary station to close. The temporary station will close after the last service on Friday 8 October.
Matthew Beeton, Area Director, Northern Rail said: “Workington North met a very immediate need in the aftermath of the Cumbrian floods when the road network was disrupted. However, over recent months peoples’ travel patterns have changed, reducing use of the station significantly.
“We are very proud of the role that the rail industry and our partners played in keeping the communities of Cumbria connected in the aftermath of the floods. We remain committed to working with partners to develop services and facilities for passengers in Cumbria.”
Marie Fallon, Cumbria County Council’s director of environment, who led the flood recovery efforts as Chair of the Cumbria Flood Recovery Co-ordinating Group, said: “Building Workington North temporary station will always represent a proud chapter in Cumbria’s history. The way everyone rallied around to get the temporary station up and running to provide a free shuttle service with extra bus links was a fantastic effort and a shining example of the multi-agency response to the floods.
“The station has clearly served its purpose now, as shown by the huge reduction in user numbers since the temporary road bridge opened, and it no longer makes sense operationally to keep it open. Its closure is actually an important milestone towards getting Workington back to where it was before the floods.”
Recent and planned improvements on the Cumbrian Coast Line include:
· new ticket office facilities opened at Millom Station
· £500,000 refurbishment of Workington Station including platform canopies, additional lighting and improvements to waiting facilities
· new eco- station being created at Maryport featuring ground breaking eco initiatives including new waiting shelters, lighting and charging points. The new facilities will open in early 2011
· following the successful trial of the ‘Harrington Hump’, an innovative system to raise the height of low platforms, it is being rolled out to more stations in Cumbria
Jo Kaye, Network Rail route director, said: “The temporary station served its purpose and served the people of Workington very well – but it could not continue indefinitely. Demand for its use has fallen to such an extent that it is evident a permanent facility is not required. It is time to move on and concentrate on improving facilities at Workington and other stations on the line, which we and Northern will do over the coming months.”