From new lifts and Oyster acceptance to extra toilets, Govia Thameslink Railway is showcasing the wide-ranging improvements across its network in the past year as part of #StationsDay.
#StationsDay (today - 15 October) is an industry-wide celebration of the 2,563 railway stations across Britain, highlighting recent and upcoming improvements for passengers.
On GTR’s network, upgrades can be seen across numerous locations. Work is in full swing at St Albans station with a £5.7million investment project underway which will see wider entrances, create more space on the centre island platform, improve the retail offering as well as increasing the number of toilets and ticket machines.
Earlier this month, GTR marked the completion of a £1.5m improvement project at Thameslink’s Elstree and Borehamwood station to more than double the size of the station concourse and provide extra ticket gates.
During the summer months, Southern’s Carshalton station benefitted from the £2.5m installation of new lifts, as well as a new, fully accessible toilet.
Another major project was completed this summer at Knebworth station. An investment of £750,000 has seen the installation of two new shelters, a new connecting roof to the station subway, new handrails on stairs and improved lighting.
Other big improvement projects on the horizon include new lifts to all platforms at Selhurst station, set to be in operation early next year, while customers at Coulsdon South and Crawley will both gain new footbridges and lifts.
Other stations to gain minor improvements this year to make them more accessible were Battersea Park with a wide aisle ticket barrier; Hertford North and Rye with automatic door entry to the ticket office; Winchmore Hill with increased passenger circulation space on its platforms; and Seaford with step-free access to the waiting room and improved ticket hall access.
Supporting the shift to digital ticketing, contactless pay as you go (PAYG) and the convenience of Oyster has been rolled to a number of Hertfordshire stations so far this year. PAYG and Oyster was introduced at Hertford North, Bayford and Cuffley in the spring and during the summer at Radlett and Potters Bar. Brookmans Park station has welcomed PAYG and more Hertfordshire stations are due to benefit from PAYG in the coming months.
GTR’s total investment over its seven-year franchise is valued at £60m. Last year, GTR made improvements to the value of £10m. This year, GTR is investing £15m in improvements and £15m worth of upgrades is expected next year. These figures do not include the significant investment (millions of pounds) that Network Rail is spending at stations, nor improvements at Luton Airport Parkway linking the airport to the station.
Almost every station across the GTR network will also benefit from £15million worth of improvements through the Passenger Benefit Fund, established following the disruption experienced by passengers during the timetable change in May 2018.
Patrick Verwer, Chief Executive Officer at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate the wide-ranging improvement projects at stations across our network, which include extra ticket gates, more toilets, new lifts and even floral displays. Stations are at the heart of communities and by working with Network Rail, we will be improving every one of our stations across the region.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Our railway stations are gateways to our communities, boosting local economies and supporting jobs. The over 2,500 stations on our network have often played central roles in our villages, towns and cities for over a century. Today we are celebrating them and the work across the country to upgrade station environments, information and accessibility so that they can continue their vital role for the future.”
Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions for the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which represents the rail industry, said: “Britain’s railway stations play a cherished role in the communities they serve, thousands of staff work hard in them every day to deliver a great service and huge investment has gone into improving stations across the country. Stations Day is about celebrating this as well as the economic and social benefits railway stations deliver for millions of people every day.”
As a new element in the lead up to Stations Day this year, RDG has been running a Twitter tournament to find Britain’s best railway station – #WorldCupofStations! - with the winner to be announced on #StationsDay today.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) brings together the companies that run Britain’s railway into a single team with one goal - to deliver a better railway for you and your community.
£5.2bn will be invested in stations across the UK as part of the rail industry’s long-term plan to change and improve.
There are over 2,500 stations in the UK.
The top 20 stations each have over 60,000 entries and exits each day.
The busiest station is London Waterloo with over 250,000 entries and exits each day.
Over 150 stations have more than 10,000 entries and exits each day.
Over 85% of the population live within five kilometres of a railway station.
Recent research by the Rail Industry Association (RIA) in a study entitled ’Value of Rail’ (Feb 2018) also showcased that station retailers and caterers sold £2.3 billion of goods and services in 2016 and are associated with 27,600 jobs.
£36m has been invested in station improvement projects across the country as part of the National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) over the last two years.
It has been estimated that the value of the railways to our economy is £10.4 billion a year with stations being essential to realising this value.
The above facts and figures were supplied by the RDG.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is currently the most punctual of the large and complex operators in UK rail according to 'On Time' statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road for May, June and July 2019, and fourth of all train operators in the UK