A £15 million overhaul plan could transform a rail station that is almost inaccessible for the disabled. Ambitious proposals to provide extra parking and a new western footbridge at Eaglescliffe Rail Station, near Stockton-on-Tees, have been unveiled to combat booming demand there.
Numerous businesses to the west of the station at Durham Lane Industrial Park could have direct access through the new footbridge as well. Businesses there include Tetley Tea, Carroll & Meynell, Icon Plastics and RSM Solutions.
“The case for action at Eaglescliffe station could not be stronger. Footfall has increased by 174% in the past decade. We desperately need to meet this growing demand. The new access will be crucial for passengers, ease congestion in Eaglescliffe, finally make the site accessible for the disabled and connect our global business park directly with London,” said Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stockton South, Councillor Matt Vickers.
“Already we’re set to benefit from investment in upgraded trains serving Eaglescliffe, it would be great to secure these improvements to the station. I discussed all aspects of the future of the station with the minister and he is keen to see the business case progressed,” Cllr Vickers added.
Currently there is a £11 million shortfall in funding but the case for action has now been heard by the Government’s rail minister. The Stockton Council is working with the Tees Valley Combined Authority, park owner Hansteen and Network Rail to develop the plan and secure funding. Current estimates show a project cost of £15 million, with Network Rail indicating a contribution of £2 million.
Wheelchair racing champion Lady Tanni Grey Thompson, who lives locally, has been highly critical of the station’s disability access in the past, saying that having to pull herself up a steep 50m-long ramp was often the biggest challenge of her day.