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By Tristan Harris Wednesday 19 March 2014 Updated: 20/03 23:34
A SPECIAL ceremony last Thursday (March 13) signalled the start of work on Bromsgrove's new multi-million pound railway station.
The event was attended by representatives from several organisations, including Mike Ponsonby from Bromsgrove Rail User Group (BRUG), Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for the economy, skills and infrastructure and Rod Sillence from the Sponsors at Network Rail.
Another person who was at the site was Ron Swift who helped save Bromsgrove Station in 1969 when it was one of hundreds to be earmarked for closure and demolition as part of Dr Richard Beeching's The Reshaping of British Railways report.
But Mr Swift, who like many others opposed the move, campaigned and was instrumental in ensuring the station remained.
He was successful in satisfactorily proving to the then Minister of Transport Barbara Castle the 'hardship' the people of Bromsgrove would face if they lost station.
Mike Ponsonby, the chairman of Bromsgrove Rail User Group (BRUG), said: "Without him and his efforts, none of us would be able to do what we are doing because the station would have been demolished and the only thing here would be a through track from Birmingham to Gloucester."
The new fully accessible station, capable of handling 800,000 passengers per year, will have a staffed ticket office, passenger waiting room, toilets, ticket and travel information, new car parks providing standard and disabled spaces, along with electric vehicle charging points, car share bays and two bus stops.
A concourse will link to the new bus stops, taxi rank, pedestrian footpaths, cycle store and car parking areas.
There will also be a covered bridge link to platforms from the concourse with stairs and lifts to all platforms.
The scheme will cost around £17.4million, including £1.9million in development costs - of which £0.8million has already been spent.
The county council will put £5.5million towards the project - £1.5million will come from a Integrated Transport
Block grant and the remaining £4million will come from taxpayers and will be paid back over 42 years, once the station starts to make a profit.
Mr Ponsonby added: "It was a high profile event and everyobody recognised the significance of the work starting."
He added it was the most important infrastructure development in Bromsgrove for 150 years.
Coun Geraghty said: "Improving transport links in our county is a key priority to secure future economic growth and the substantial investment in this important improvement project for the new Bromsgrove Rail Station is a reflection of our commitment to ensure the area is very much 'open for business'."
Coun Roger Horton, the Centro lead member for rail, said he was delighted work was underway on what was an exciting development that would bring great benefits to the town.
“The new station, together with connection to the Cross City Line and electrification will mean better and more frequent services for passengers.”
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