Minister of State for Transport, Baroness Kramer, has officially opened a new £2.2m Tees Valley rail station that is vital to the area’s transport infrastructure.
Baroness Kramer named the train she arrived on – Captain James Cook, Master Mariner – and unveiled an official opening plaque to mark the development of the James Cook station behind The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, which has been achieved through a partnership involving Tees Valley Unlimited, Northern Rail, Network Rail, Middlesbrough Council and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,.
Up to 17 Northern Rail trains on the Esk Valley line call at the new stop, which has been established following a successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid from the Department for Transport by TVU, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to contribute £2million towards the new station at The James Cook University Hospital, which will serving staff, patients and visitors as well as enhancing the wider transport network. Good transport connections act as an engine for economic growth, and link local people to vital services.
David Robinson, TVU Board Member, said: “The development of this station is important for Tees Valley as it provides an alternative means of access to a large employment site and surrounding developments. It also is helping to ease congestion and parking issues and improve traffic flow along one of the area’s busiest transport corridors.
“This scheme, which is part of a wider package of investment and improvements to rail transport in Tees Valley, demonstrates how partners and stakeholders are working together for the benefit of the area’s residents and organisations.”
The James Cook station investment dovetails in with a £4.5m scheme to boost rail travel that will see 11 other stations – Allens West, Billingham, Gypsy Lane, Longbeck, Marske, Marton, Nunthorpe, Redcar Central, Redcar East, South Bank and Stockton – receive improvements to passenger facilities.
Improvements include electronic timetabling, signage upgrades, shelters, improved lighting and seating and the installation of CCTV.
Alex Hynes, Managing Director for Northern Rail comments: “We’re delighted to celebrate the opening of our new station and welcome Baroness Kramer to the region. The development of James Cook station forms a crucial part of a wider scheme to improve rail travel in Tees Valley.
“These enhanced transport connections are important to ensure that residents and visitors to the area can access more facilities throughout the north.”
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “The new station is fantastic for the town, the hospital and our communities.
“As well as helping the area realise one of its ambitions to improve rail passenger facilities and enhance the rail network, it supports economic regeneration by improving transport links for workers and accessibility to key sites.”
Jill Moulton, director of service strategy and infrastructure at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This new rail link forms a key part of the Trust’s travel plan, which focuses on establishing alternative ways for staff, visitors and patients to reach the hospital.
“This has involved encouraging more than 300 of our staff to cycle to work and having buses coming into the complex.”
Mark Tarry, area director for Network Rail, said: “We worked hard to build and deliver this new station with the support of our partners and contractor. We delivered it in time for the new timetable and for services to start in May. We hope passengers enjoy the using the new service, which is a great alternative way to travel to the James Cook hospital site.”
The James Cook station is part of a *range of rail infrastructure investments, totalling nearly £10million and managed by TVU during the last four years.
This has been made possible by a combination of finance from the Department for Transport Major Scheme and Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).