ICE South East England joined Network Rail and Southeastern to celebrate the opening of the new Rochester station on Monday morning at an event attended by the Rail Minister Claire Perry, local MP Kelly Tolhurst and Leader of Medway Council Cllr Alan Jarrett.
The news £26m station means Rochester commuters will enjoy five extra trains to London during the morning peak and longer platforms.
Built by Network Rail and operated by Southeastern, the station’s bright and modern environment and its central location with good transport links will mean that visitors to the town will enjoy a much better welcome.
In addition, the new station is linked to the riverside at Rochester via a subway, opening up the area and making it more suitable for development. A new multi-storey car park will open there in 2016, making Rochester one of the most attractive commuter stations in Kent.
The launch coincided with the unveiling of the station’s new “This Is Civil Engineering” Banner, as part of a special nationwide campaign to show the public the positive impact civil engineering has on their lives. The ICE’s “This is Civil Engineering” campaign sees huge banners displayed on infrastructure projects across the UK telling the public what civil engineering is, but also making a clear link between the work taking place and how it will benefit the local community.
Rail minister Claire Perry said: “This is a really impressive new station for Rochester, which is now delivering better journeys for passengers in the area, as well as transforming rail capacity and connectivity. It is a station the town can be proud of and offers a big opportunity to boost economic growth in the area.
“This is also a significant step forward for the East Kent Resignalling project, which will allow better use of the rail network in Rochester and the surrounding areas. It is brilliant to see our investment in rail make a real difference to passengers who use this station on a daily basis.”
Rochester’s new station was designed to allow 12-car trains to call at the town, in conjunction with improvements to the signalling and track in the area. In April 2016, the signal box at Rochester will be removed and a third platform introduced at the station, increasing flexibility and improving reliability.
Network Rail suppliers Atkins, Spencer Rail and Balfour Beatty have all worked as partners on the project, with Atkins acting as lead designer for the resignalling, Spencer Rail building the station and Balfour Beatty building the track and electrification.