A new ticket office at Taunton Station has welcomed travellers for the first time, marking a significant milestone in the completion of the multimillion-pound station regeneration project.
Great Western Railway is working with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Somerset County Council and Somerset West and Taunton Council to deliver the scheme, designed to help support the town’s economic development plans.
Improvements for the station include the new ticket office; station entrance and forecourt with additional bike spaces; and a new multi-storey car park. An improved bus and taxi interchange and easier access to the town centre and Firepool development will all help improve the customer experience for people visiting the town by train – a number that is expected to double over the next 10 years.
A temporary replacement car park is being provided on the opposite side of the station, as part of the phased construction process.
GWR Regional Development Manager Matt Barnes said:
“Taunton station is a key gateway to the town and with the overall investment in the rail network – including Intercity Express Trains that have already increased capacity by almost 25% than the trains they have replaced – we are expecting passenger numbers to increase significantly over the next decade.
“We are pleased to be working with Somerset County, Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Heart of South West LEP to have been able to open the new ticket office today. It is fantastic to see the completion of this key phase of the project, with the new approach and station forecourt due to be finished soon.
“It has been a long-held ambition to deliver these improvements for customers, so that they have better facilities on the forecourt, better interchange, and a lovely new ticket hall and station entrance which will link up better with the town centre – and of course a much larger car park and new access to the road network.”
Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow had the opportunity to look round the station last week. Rebecca said:
“Achieving the upgrade of Taunton station was one of my key commitments on my election and it is absolutely tremendous to see this come to fruition. I’ve worked hard to secure Government and LEP funding for this project and to work closely with the dedicated team of stakeholders involved including GWR and Network Rail.
“This successful project sees the transformation of this Victorian station to a great mix of the latest contemporary facilities combined with astutely restored listed buildings. This station represents the gateway to the county town of Somerset and the wider South West. Along with the improved rail services this really will help us with our economic recovery and will benefit the environment by helpful reduce reliance on cars. It’s a welcome achievement.”
Paula Hewitt, Lead Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure & Director of Commissioning at Somerset County Council, said:
“This is a key project which will greatly improve the experience for everyone who travels into Somerset via Taunton Station. It is great news to see the new ticket office opened and we look forward to seeing the wider station improvements completed shortly.”
Dawn Adey, Director of Development & Place at Somerset West and Taunton Council, said:
“The completion of the new ticket office for Taunton station marks another milestone in Taunton’s overall regeneration plans. The new facility will be a real asset to the town, providing a welcoming entrance for visitors and in due course, will link directly through to Firepool, the River Tone, Cricket Ground and Town Centre.”