With over 200,000 passengers per year using the station, Eaglescliffe is currently the 7th busiest station in the Tees Valley. It has increased in popularity dramatically over the last 15 years, particularly after Grand Central services on the route between London and Sunderland were introduced in December 2007. Eaglescliffe is also a key interchange point with the half hourly Northern services which operate on the Darlington-Thornaby-Middlesbrough-Redcar-Saltburn route.
TVCA’s Strategic Transport Plan outlines major ambitions to improve and increase rail service frequencies further within and to/from the Tees Valley but there are various constraints at Eaglescliffe which are limiting its growth potential.
Within the station, access to the platforms and the existing elevated ticket office is currently very difficult for people with mobility impairments due to the gradient of the existing ramps, which do not meet recommended standards, and a lack of any lifts.
It is likely that there is latent rail passenger demand to the west of the station, with residents and employees unable to conveniently access the station on foot. Analysis from questionnaire surveys undertaken in November 2019 shows that the existing walking catchment extends up to approximately 800m and does not include areas to the west. This lack of access for pedestrians and cyclists limits travel opportunities for those living in the local area that do not have access to a private car.
In terms of vehicular access, the station can currently only be reached by road from the eastern side of the railway lines. Station Road provides the only point of access to the station car park and drop off zones and this links to the A135 Yarm Road which runs through Eaglescliffe and connects it with Stockton-On-Tees and Yarm.
There is significant potential existing demand as well as future development opportunities on the western side of the railway at Eaglescliffe. Durham Lane Industrial Estate, to the south of the Elton Interchange (A66T), is home to several international industry leading businesses employing around 1,000 people, including Tata Beverages (Tetley Tea), Carroll & Meynell, Icon Plastics and RSM Solutions. To the north of the Industrial Estate are large sites associated with Marshalls and Nifco UK Ltd. In addition, there is a significant area of land (circa 30 ha) available for further development being allocated between these two areas.
Unfortunately, there is no direct link to/from the western side of the railway line and the station can only be accessed by crossing the railway line at the A66 approximately 2.3km to the north. Alternatively, the lines can be crossed approximately 2.0km south of Eaglescliffe Station at the A67. Clearly this represents a considerable detour for those living and working to the west of the station.
There are currently 83 spaces in the station car park (including 49 provided since 2015) but the year-on-year growth at the station means that the recent car park expansion only just about caters for current demand for parking. Surveys indicate that much of the car parking is already occupied by 9am and remains so until after 7pm. There is no scope for any further expansion of the car park on the east side due to site constraints.
In order to address these issues, the aspiration of TVCA and our partners is for an enhanced rail gateway at Eaglescliffe that is fully accessible and can accommodate future demands for passenger rail services and support housing and economic growth in the local area, including the Durham Lane Industrial Estate.
This will include a new fully accessible footbridge including lifts to the platforms and at all station entry points. This new bridge will replace the existing footbridge which links the east side to the platforms but in addition will create a new span to extend the bridge to the western side of the railway line to provide full accessibility to the station from both sides. The existing bridge and ramps will be removed. In addition, there will be various improvements to station buildings/waiting areas and other passenger facilities. Proposed enhancements on the west side include a new car park of approximately 120 spaces, a new access road, improvements to existing junction arrangements at Durham Lane/Cleasby Way and enhancements to existing but informal pedestrian routes to provide access to the new footbridge and station from surrounding residential areas to the west of the rail line.
Stockton Borough Council is leading on the business case development for the scheme, working in close partnership with all stakeholders including TVCA, Network Rail, Northern and Grand Central.
Final scheme details and designs are still in development but at this stage the anticipated delivery timescale is 2022/23.