Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has hailed the announcement in today’s Budget that the redevelopment of Darlington railway station will be approved and fully funded as a massive step forward for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
The £80m ask of Government came following months of highly constructive discussions between mayor Houchen, the Department of Transport and the Treasury on the importance of the upgrade in order to improve rail travel across the region.
The funding is on top of a £25m investment committed by mayor Houchen to help deliver the vision for the station.
The approval of the Darlington station upgrade will unlock local capacity across the whole region.
The plan will create a new local station and train platforms at Darlington Station, which will see rail capacity increase by more than 300%.
Taking the current two trains an hour across the region up to a possible eight trains an hour. This gives the area a hugely improved local and national service and futureproofs the station for future HS2 services.
The scheme will also see improvements to the fabric of the station, including improved entrances, and the regeneration of the wider area around the station.
Once complete, the upgraded station will unlock capacity across the area leading to faster, more frequent and better-quality across the region.
It will also allow for better freight connections from Teesport and prepare the station for high-speed services and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Commenting on the announcement Mayor Houchen said: “I am thrilled the Chancellor has backed this £105m scheme at Darlington station, which is essential to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool getting better rail services. Something that is badly needed across our area.
“The plan to transform Darlington station is a key building block to improving rail travel not just in Darlington, but across the whole of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“This long overdue project will put more trains on the local lines, cut journey times, improve regional transport links and give visitors an incredible welcome to the area. I’ve been making the case for Darlington station from the day I was elected, and we now have the money to deliver, but I will not rest until I see spades in the ground.
“We’re making sure our roads and public transport works for all out towns and villages and we are making good progress. I kick started the redevelopment of Darlington station by committing £25m and I’m investing £20m into Middlesbrough station as well.
“We’re tackling congestion with the upgrade of the A689 Wynyard Road and we’re making sure people in rural areas can get around quickly, easily and cheaply with a new state-of-the-art on-demand bus service.”