Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 15th June 2023
Ground has been broken on preparing the foundations for the first structures of the huge Darlington Station overhaul.
Demolition on the station’s east and west sides has finished, with teams now beginning piledriving for a new multi-storey car park, transport interchange and gateway entrance connected to Central Park.
The £140million project will also see an upgrade to the Victoria Road entrance and car park pick-up and drop-off points on the western side.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen was joined by Darlington Borough Council leader Cllr Stephen Harker on Thursday in a ceremony to mark the beginning of the piling works (June 15).
Contractor Willmott Dixon is leading work on the east side while Network Rail crews are also gearing up to start their infrastructure works this summer in bringing two new platforms to the station.
Mayor Houchen said: “With hundreds of Government jobs coming to Darlington, the town and its people deserve a modern and vibrant station to provide a gateway to the rest of the great developments on their way.
“Bank Top is now showing its age and bringing two extra platforms and a cutting-edge interchange will make the whole region more accessible and cut journey times.
“This is another significant milestone for the project and I’m thrilled the station project is steaming ahead.”
The station overhaul will be completed in 2025 in time for the Stockton and Darlington Railway bicentennial celebrations.
Two new platforms will accommodate current services and improve rail connections both within the Tees Valley and beyond via the East Coast Main Line. The station project has been primed with £33million from the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen alongside more than £100million in Government funding so far.
Cllr Stephen Harker, Leader of Darlington Borough Council and Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Member, said: “I am delighted that work is progressing on this project to transform the station to improve access to Darlington for business and leisure travellers. It will also create much better access into the wider Tees Valley.
“Upgrading the station will allow us to continue attracting investment to Darlington.”
The old and new station sites will be linked by a bridge joining the historic train shed with the modern facility.
Nick Corrigan, North East director for Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re proud to say that, as well as creating a vibrant and transformative new gateway into Darlington, the station development really will be changing lives and creating opportunities for local people.
“In addition to new local jobs, apprenticeships and training weeks, in partnership with Tees Valley Combined Authority, we are creating employment opportunities for local people facing barriers to work through our dedicated Building Lives Academy programme.
“Over the coming months, we will be working directly with the likes of Darlington Borough Council’s Youth Employment Initiative and Aycliffe Secure Centre, to deliver Building Lives Academies for local young people who are not in education, employment or training.
“This is a project for the people of Darlington, built by the people of Darlington and we’re committed to spending £12m with local supply chain businesses.”
Luke Durston, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said: “We are delighted that construction work is getting underway to completely transform Darlington station, delivering an improved rail service, enhanced passenger experience and better facilities.
“Two brand-new platforms at the station will boost reliability and unlock more future travel options for passengers travelling within the Tees Valley and further afield on the East Coast Main Line. We look forward to working with industry partners towards the planned completion date ahead of the Stockton and Darlington bicentennial celebrations.”
Darlington MP Peter Gibson said: “I am disappointed to not be at today’s pile driving at Bank Top due to engagements in Parliament, but I am delighted to see progress on this fantastic project, investing £140m in Darlington to improve transport for our whole region.
“We are a town transformed by a host of investment, of which this is just one.”
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