Work on a £2.6M upgrade of Gillingham station, which will create a new entrance and ticket office, has begun.
Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti marked the start of the upgrade, joining Network Rail and Medway councillors at the first stage of the work, which is being funded jointly through the national stations improvement programme and in partnership with Medway Council.
The improvement work includes extending and refurbishing the station building to provide more space for passengers to circulate, and creating a new glass entrance which will allow more natural light into the building. The roofing on the platforms will also be refurbished.
The station will remain open to passengers with minimal disruption throughout the construction. Temporary hoardings will be put up at the main entrance to allow passengers to continue safely using the existing ticket office facilities and ticket gates.
The work, which is being delivered by Network Rail, is expected to be completed by summer 2011, and the leader of Medway Council Councillor Rodney Chambers said the work was a significant step in a series of measures to transform Medway. He said: “It will mean we have first class facilities in place as we head towards the London 2012 Olympics, for which Medway Park, based in Gillingham will be an athlete’s training base.
“I’m delighted to see the start of a project that will provide real benefits for residents using the station on a daily basis and for those visiting Gillingham.”
Chishti said: “I welcome the upgrading of Gillingham station, the work will transform the station into something that we can all be proud of.”
Network Rail route director for Kent Dave Ward said: “An important part of building a bigger and better railway is to make it easier to access and provide facilities at stations which better meet the needs of today’s passengers. This upgrade at Gillingham will bring long-lasting benefits for the thousands who use it every day.”