Retford Train Station is to receive a £90,000 upgrade thanks to a funding agreement that has been honoured by the new London North Eastern Railway (LNER) franchise.
The news was welcomed by Councillors at Bassetlaw District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, along with community groups, after the original funding arrangement with Virgin’s Customer and Community Improvement Fund had been thrown into jeopardy because of the Government’s take-over of Virgin’s East Coast Rail franchise.
It means that a number of improvements, including the refurbishment of the subway to Ordsall, will now go ahead as hoped.
Cllr David Pidwell, Pidwell Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure at Bassetlaw District Council, who last month wrote to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling asking for the funding to be secured, said: “We’re thrilled that the Government has honoured the original agreement and this much needed refurbishment can now go ahead.”
“The station is a key gateway to the Retford and North Nottinghamshire and you only get one chance to make a first impression. We want to instil a sense of arrival when people visit this station and make the surrounding area safer and more appealing for local people.
LNER’s Major Projects Director, Tim Hedley-Jones said: “LNER is very pleased to be working with Bassetlaw District Council and other stakeholders to deliver these projects as part of our Customer and Communities Improvement Fund. We’re committed to the ongoing development of Retford Station and these improvements will improve the links between the railway, the station and the town”.
Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “I recently met with Chris Grayling about funding for a number of transport infrastructure improvements in Nottinghamshire and he was clearly very eager to support us wherever he could.
“Having two East Coast Mainline stations in Nottinghamshire provides significant economic benefits, particularly to the eastern side of the county and Retford is an important destination, both in its own right and as a gateway to the wider area. These improvements will not only help create a favourable first impression for visitors, but also instill a pride of place for local residents and visitors.”
The upgrade plans will include new LED lighting installed in the subway to Ordsall, drainage issues addressed and a new surface for the tunnel footpath. The walls will also be painted and new decorative panels fitted.
Other elements of the station improvement project include new station and town centre signposts, new ‘Welcome to Retford’ signs on the four platforms and in the entrance, and new window displays and interpretation panels that focus on Retford’s history.
Local community groups including the North Notts & Lincs Community Rail Partnership (NNLCRP) and Retford Civic Society have worked closely with the Council to develop the project.
Rick Brand from NNLCRP added: “We welcome this excellent news and can now start to progress the scheme for the benefit of Retford’s community and visitors to our market town.”