To mark the transformation of the forecourt at Swindon station, the development team, including Swindon Borough Council, Forward Swindon, Network Rail and First Great Western marked the upgraded ‘front gate’ to Swindon on Thursday 13 December.
A Christmas tree was lit on on the forecourt at the event hosted by Councillor Roderick Bluh, Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Councillor Garry Perkins, Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Culture, accompanied by the choir from Isambard Community School in North Swindon.
The site is the new location of the town’s Jubilee Clock which was originally unveiled at Canal Walk in the town centre in late 2000 by the Duke of Edinburgh.
In freezing weather staff from the Costa Coffee outlet based at the forecourt served warming refreshment.
With over 3 million people passing through each year, the busy forecourt desperately needed improving to create a safer, more pleasant and impressive entry point into the town.
The £1.8m scheme, funded by the Department of Transport, Swindon Borough Council and Network Rail, provides high quality facilities such as a new taxi rank and decorative paving, seating, signage and trees. The project forms part of Forward Swindon’s regeneration of the town centre, and it will help to positively change perceptions for all those visiting by rail.
Councillor Roderick Bluh, Leader of Swindon Borough Council said: “First impressions matter. Rail visitors to Swindon will now have a much better initial view of the town than they would have had before. The work has made a massive difference to the whole area and given it a real lift.”
Amanda Hoyland, Network Rail’s route enhancements manager, said: “We’re sure passengers will appreciate the new forecourt, which has been built to a very high standard and quality of finish.”
Mark Hopwood, MD First Great Western, said: “At First Great Western we recognise our role in the communities we serve. These improvement works will ensure that Swindon Station continues to provide the services and environment our customers require.”
Robin Bailey, Chairman of Forward Swindon stated: “The mainline station is a major route into Swindon for commuters and visitors, all of whom will now have a better impression of the town as a result.” He continues: “It was a key project for Forward Swindon to deliver this financial year.”
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