Watch our video of the launch event, featuring Nadhim Zahawi MP, London Midland, Brompton Dock, the Chairman of Warwickshire County Council and, most importantly, a local resident, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnR8v45O79I
It followed a visit yesterday by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker MP, who came to the new station to see for himself the benefits that rail investment are bringing to Warwickshire.
At today’s celebratory event, members of Warwickshire County Council’s transport planning team, who oversaw the project to construct the new £6.9 million station, were joined by Nadhim Zahawi MP for Stratford on Avon, Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning, Councillor Peter Butlin, Chairman of Warwickshire County Council Cllr Dave Shilton, and a number of local councillors.
Representatives from Buckingham Group Contracting, who were awarded the detailed design and build contract for the new station in August 2012 after submitting the most competitive proposal and demonstrating a high level of experience in the construction of new rail infrastructure, included Rail Director, Simon Walkley.
Building work started in October 2012 and the award of the contract to Buckingham Group has meant that the station has opened seven months ahead of schedule and on budget.
Managing Director, Patrick Verwer, was one of a number of representatives from London Midland, who have been awarded the franchise to operate the station and passenger services through it.
The first London Midland passenger trains called at the new Parkway station on Sunday 19 May and the opening of the station has coincided with the introduction of enhanced rail services for passengers in the town.
London Midland’s Managing Director, Patrick Verwer, said: “The opening of Stratford Parkway station is great news for passengers and brings with it significant service improvements, both now and in the future. With later and more frequent trains running between Stratford and Birmingham, passengers can now enjoy extra flexibility, whether they are enjoying a night out, a spot of shopping, or taking in a play at the world-famous RSC.
“From December 2013, there will also be a new, even later Saturday night service and increased off-peak frequency. This will offer yet more options for passengers, and I have no doubt that both the station and new services will prove hugely popular with passengers.”
Cllr John McNicholas, Chairman of Centro, the transport authority for the West Midlands, who have worked with the Council and London Midland to deliver an improved service timetable, was also at the event.
As part of the project, Centro has agreed to help fund extra train services running later into the night between Stratford and Birmingham, an important route for thousands of Warwickshire people working in the conurbation and for leisure travellers.
Chairman Cllr John McNicholas said: “This new station and the extra train services that are now running is fantastic news for commuters. It will help meet rising demand for train travel and also tackle the road congestion which costs the West Midlands economy more than £2.3 billion a year.”
The Stratford Parkway project was co-funded by the Department of Transport, following a successful bid by Warwickshire County Council to the Department’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund for a £4.995m contribution. The County Council provided an additional £1.86m funding for the project.
Speaking about his visit to the station yesterday, Transport Minister Norman Baker MP said: “This is a great new station for people around Stratford who needed a more convenient way to make trips into Birmingham and beyond and I am glad to have been able to support it and other new stations around the country.
“This is another tangible example of the Coalition Government’s commitment to transforming the railways, part of the biggest programme of rail investment since the 19th Century. After years of decline and stagnation, the railways are on their way up again.”
114,000 new rail trips are forecast to both the new Stratford Parkway station and the existing town station by 2024/2025.
Today’s event also saw the launch of Brompton Dock’s folding cycle hire scheme as part of the offering at the new Stratford Parkway Station. This is Brompton Dock’s first dock in partnership with Warwickshire County Council
The Brompton Dock in Stratford makes up to twelve folding bicycles available to local residents and visitors. Members of the scheme register online at www.bromptondock.co.uk and pay an annual membership fee. They can then hire a bike by text message or reserve a bike or empty bay online.
Managing Director of Brompton Dock, Mark Antwis, said: “We are delighted to be launching our first dock in this part of the country. Located in the new station, this dock will add an alternative mode of transport for those using the station; you will be able to travel to Stratford by train before cycling the last few miles to your destination. This is a classic example of Brompton Dock as a door to door journey solution.”