Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor and Councillor Bill Dixon, Chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Transport Committee were joined by local stakeholders at Darlington Train Station to unveil a series of displays that will inform commuters and visitors about the exciting and innovative Darlington 2025 project.
In a high-profile public display of support for the initiative Mr Houchen unveiled a number of the banners that greet passengers arriving at the station.
Darlington 2025 includes remodelling the station and creating dedicated platforms for local connections and future high speed services. The ambitious programme will enhance rail connections across the North, on the East Coast Main Line, as an integral part of the HS2 network, and across the Tees Valley.
The initiative will position Darlington as a crucial part of the new HS2 network, able to accommodate new high speed trains once they join the East Coast Main Line. It sets out new plans for the reconfiguration of the rail infrastructure around the station, to unlock improvements to local rail services, leading to faster, more frequent and better quality services across the Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire, and better freight connections from Teesport.
This ambitious programme captures the pioneering spirit shown nearly 200 years ago, when the Stockton-Darlington Railway first ushered in the age of rail passenger transport. In the last 4 years the town has seen nearly £200 million of investment within ten minutes’ walk of the station including the National Biologics Centre, Business Central and the Feethams leisure development. By 2025, Darlington should be able to celebrate the future of a modern rail hub for a modern economy, as well as the great historical significance of the 200th anniversary and will be a catalyst to wider regeneration opportunities.
Mr Houchen, said: “The new information room is a step forward for the Darlington 2025 programme. It will not only raise the profile of the scheme, but encourage members of the public to provide valuable feedback to the Combined Authority on what they want to see from Darlington 2025.”
“It’s vital that the HS2 project brings economic growth across the UK. Our proposals for the development at Darlington Station will deliver substantial benefits to rail passengers and businesses- not just here in Tees Valley, but across the country”.
Cllr Bill Dixon, Lead member for Transport at the Combined Authority, added: “Our ambitious proposals for Darlington2025 have secured commitment and support from the rail industry, local businesses and political leaders from across the North. We will now take the proposals to the next stage, to secure the investment needed to make them a reality.”
Chris Cunningham, General Manager for Virgin Trains, which manages Darlington station, said: “We are supportive of the 2025 vision to transform Darlington station and its surrounding area, and are delighted to work with partners to create this room to help inform customers about the plans which are being developed.”