The ground has today (07 October) been broken on Darlington railway station’s £100million-plus transformation as some of the first buildings are being knocked down to make way for the redevelopment.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Cllr Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council leader and Combined Authority Cabinet lead for Transport, were welcomed on-site by Thompsons, the local firm carrying out the demolition.
Work is under way on properties adjacent to Neasham Road to the east of the station, with the Exhaust A Fix garage one of the first to be flattened. As Darlington Borough Council takes possession of further properties, this demolition programme will ramp up ahead of building work next year.
As part of the transformation, the buildings are being cleared to make way for an extension to the station, with the old and new sites linked by a bridge joining the historic train shed with the modern facility.
The redevelopment includes a multi-storey car park, transport interchange and gateway entrance connected to Central Park. New platforms will accommodate current and future services to improve the region’s local and national transport links.
An upgrade to the Victoria Road entrance and car park pick-up and drop-off points on the western side of the station is also planned, with new road layouts, wider pavements and a boost to walking and cycling access to make the station easier to reach and improve connections with other types of transport
Mayor Houchen said: “After years of hard work and planning, we’re now at the point where we are demolishing to deliver – bringing down properties to pave the way for this fantastic station extension, providing new platforms and an entrance to tie it even closer to the town and its assets.
“Darlington is the region’s biggest station, and we’ve got the ambitions and vision to match. That’s why I pledged £35million to kick-start the plans to and now we’re yet another step closer to seeing these become a reality.
“With developments like the Darlington Economic Campus and the ever-growing Central Park, it’s vital our station is fit for the future to help us capitalise on the big things happening right across Darlington, Teesside and Hartlepool. This work will provide the fast, reliable and transport links our local people, businesses and visitors are crying out for and deserve.”
Cllr Jonathan Dulston said: “Darlington’s rail links are one of the major draws for both people wanting to live here and businesses looking to invest, and I’m delighted we’re seeing such progress to improve our connections.
“This landmark development will help complement huge initiatives like the Darlington Economic Campus, and link it even closer with sites like our life sciences hub Central Park, home to the newly opened Innovation Central and CPI, which has just secured £10million in Government funding.
“Residents and visitors will soon see more major changes as we bring more buildings down to give us a station to be proud of.”