HARTLEPOOL STATION: Plan to reopen second platform and create new entrance
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen And Cllr Shane Moore At Hartlepool Station, Image: Tees Valley Combined Authority
A target date for reopening an unused platform at one of the region’s busiest stations has been revealed.
Leaders want to reinstate Hartlepool’s second platform before the return of the Tall Ships in 2023 in a bid to increase services to the town and boost capacity on the wider rail network.
The project is also vying to create a second station entrance linking to the marina.
Funding of £1.5m was signed off for the creation of detailed designs and a business case at the station in 2020.
But a major revamp of Darlington Station and work to improve Middlesbrough’s rail hub are further along the line than Hartlepool.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the plan was to have the platform open before the Tall Ships returned in 2023.
“We’ve put the money that needs to go in to date to get plans in place – but (it) will also require some money from the Government,” he added.
The mayor said he was in talks with Network Rail – adding the firm had been supportive.
It’s understood the work at Hartlepool will have a price tag of approximately £20m.
Constraints brought about by limits at Hartlepool have a knock on effect on Teesside’s rail network – and its connection north via the Durham Coast Line.
Hartlepool only has one platform at the moment but still welcomes 630,000 passengers every year.
It is thought to be the busiest single platform station in the country.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority’s (TVCA) 10-year rail plan says journey times on local lines are “uncompetitive” when compared to the car at the moment.
The hope is that work at Darlington and Middlesbrough will free up capacity – with Hartlepool also listed as a “pinch point” stopping more services coming in.
The former platform 1 hasn’t been used at Hartlepool this century.
Renovations totalling £4m took place at the station ahead of the Tall Ships race in 2010.
Tom Bryant, transport officer at the TVCA, told the latest transport committee how the combined authority wanted to create a “metro style” passenger system – with a 30 minute service at every station in the Tees Valley.
He added: “If we can achieve that at every station, it works into this concept of “turn up and go” – where you don’t necessarily have to think about which train you’re going to get.
“You turn up and go.
“At the minute, that’s not the case at a lot of our stations.”
Councillors also heard how improving all 24 stations in the region and increasing freight capacity on the network were two key aims.
Mr Bryant was also hopeful mayoral authorities would have more say over rail services in future.
He said: “One of the challenges we’ve got is we can deliver the infrastructure, but then we need to work with the train operators to actually deliver other services.
“I’m hopeful that devolution of powers will give us more opportunities to influence that.”
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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