Work has begun on the long awaited rail station at the back of The James Cook University Hospital.
Following a successful application to the local sustainable transport fund, Tees Valley Unlimited secured Department for Transport money for the new station, alongside a number of other initiatives to improve rail facilities across the area.
Up to 17 trains a day in each direction are expected to call at the hospital and other stations on the line between Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe.
The new facility, costing around £2.2million, will have a single platform on the Middlesbrough to Whitby route (on the hospital side of the railway line) and provide a fully-lit waiting shelter and seating, full CCTV coverage and passenger information including an electronic screen and public address announcements.
At present, there is no rail service for the hospital or surrounding residential areas and leisure facilities and this development closely interlinks with Middlesbrough Council’s plans for a state-of-the-art sports village off Marton Road, which also includes a residential area on the former Prissick base and Brackenhoe East School sites.
Managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited Stephen Catchpole said: “We are delighted that work has now started on this strategically important rail scheme, developed with a number of our key partners.
“It will fill a significant gap in the existing rail network and provide an alternative means of access to one of the area’s largest employment sites and other surrounding developments, which are located along a busy transport corridor.
“This scheme – along with other rail improvements that TVU is funding – should help to increase rail use, contributing towards our key objectives of creating growth and cutting carbon across the Tees Valley.”
It is hoped the scheme will help to alleviate some of the car parking issues on the James Cook site and help to make access to and from the hospital easier for staff, patients and visitors.
South Tees’ director of service strategy and infrastructure Jill Moulton said: “The rail link will be a major boost for the trust, our staff and our patients. It’s something we’ve been talking about for over 25 years and will greatly improve access for patients.
“We also hope it will encourage more staff to leave their cars at home and help us reduce our carbon footprint.”
Passengers will be able to access the station from the public footpath from Marton Road which also links to the hospital car park and access routes.
Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for transport, councillor Nicky Walker, said the new structure would make a valuable contribution to the transport infrastructure of Middlesbrough and the wider Teesside area.
“It will fill a critical gap in the rail network and over time lead to a substantial reduction in the number of cars using Marton Road,” she said.
“That will help to reduce congestion in this busy area and the benefits will be felt in other parts of the town.”
The service will be managed by Northern Rail, which operates the existing train service on the Middlesbrough to Whitby Line.
Managing director for Northern Rail, Alex Hynes, added: “This partnership is not only adding a train station to the developing community – it is also improving the current service we deliver and we’re thrilled to be part of this exciting project.”
The James Cook station project has been developed in partnership between Tees Valley Unlimited, Middlesbrough Council, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Network Rail and Northern Rail.
‘Cutting Carbon, Creating Growth’ – the new station will help to reduce congestion on key transport corridors in Middlesbrough.
When the James Cook station opens, service levels at all stations between Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe will increase from the current 11 to 12 per day to 16 to 17 per day on Mondays to Saturdays.