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Facelift plans for city train station

In charge: Virgin Trains general manager for the North and Scotland, Gary Iddon, with group station manager Sue Howarth

In charge: Virgin Trains general manager for the North and Scotland, Gary Iddon, with group station manager Sue Howarth

 

Preston’s historic train station is to get a facelift.

Virgin Trains has revealed it is planning to give the entrance to the historic building a refresh and has plans to build a new covered walkway linking its car park with the station building.

It follows the decision to hand Virgin a short-term deal to run the West Coast Mainline service, which runs through the city, until the end of next year.

Sue Howarth, group station manager, said it was also looking to put new ticketing machines around the station.

She said: “The approach to the station is a gateway into the city and often is the first thing people see when they arrive in Preston.

“In the next few weeks, we are going to give it a bit of a facelift, we have a new glass entrance which will go up with a poem called Score After Score written by a local man, Tom Hicks, going on it.

“We have some new planters which are being specially made and we want to put a new fast-ticket machine on Platform 7 nearest to the car park and we are trying to get a walkway from the car park.”

Virgin’s general manager for the North and Scotland, Gary Iddon, said the short-term nature of its franchise did not prevent the company from being able to invest in the station, opened in 1838.

He said it was in talks with the Department for Transport about the level of changes it can make as part of its deal to operate the West Coast service which runs until November 2014.

He said: “We are slightly more limited than we could have been, but not limited full stop.

“We will be making changes to the station to improve the customer experience.”

Aidan Turner-Bishop, spokesman for the Campaign for Better Transport in Lancashire, said he believed the shops in the station could do with new investment.

He said: “I would like to see a little supermarket-type shop in there like you get in some of the bigger stations like Liverpool Lime Street.”

In August, the Government handed a 15-year deal to run the West Coast Mainline to First Group, only to overturn the decision after “numerical errors” in the award process were uncovered in October.

The bidding process is now to be re-run with Virgin handed a short-term deal while the competition takes place.

Both First and Virgin had promised investment.

 

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