Transport Minister opens first part of WYRG

A multi-million pound new station, and the first part of the eagerly anticipated West Yorkshire Rail Growth (WYRG) project, has been officially opened.

The James Cook Hospital station in Middlesbrough was opened on Friday, July 18 by Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer.

Spencer Rail worked closely with Network Rail (NR) to complete the one-platform station by early May despite challenges set by winter working and the delayed start to the project.

Dave Burn, operations director at Spencer Rail, said: “I am delighted Baroness Kramer was able to open the new James Cook Hospital station, which has been developed in order to improve transport links for hospital staff.

“The works were undertaken in the vicinity of the hospital and we worked closely with hospital management to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum on the day-to-day operation of the facility.

“We have also planted ground cover shrubs and increased the aesthetics of the station surroundings which I hope the local community will enjoy.”

David McLoughlin, CEO at Spencer Rail, said: “Spencer Rail has worked tirelessly with the NR team to ensure that this job is completed on time and their efforts collectively are a good example of working together to achieve the required result. This is despite a delayed start on site which was outside the control of the combined team.”

The station is one of three being delivered as part of the WYRG project.

Baroness Kramer named the train she arrived on – Captain James Cook, Master Mariner – and unveiled an official opening plaque to mark the development.

Up to 17 Northern Rail trains on the Esk Valley line call at the new stop, which has been established following a successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid from the Department for Transport by TVU, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley.

Baroness Kramer said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to contribute £2m towards the new station at The James Cook University Hospital, which will serve staff, patients and visitors as well as enhancing the wider transport network. Good transport connections act as an engine for economic growth, and link local people to vital services.”

The James Cook station investment dovetails in with a £4.5m scheme to boost rail travel that will see 11 other stations – Allens West, Billingham, Gypsy Lane, Longbeck, Marske, Marton, Nunthorpe, Redcar Central, Redcar East, South Bank and Stockton – receive improvements to passenger facilities.

Mark Tarry, area director for Network Rail, said: “We worked hard to build and deliver this new station with the support of our partners and contractor. We delivered it in time for the new timetable and for services to start in May. We hope passengers enjoy the using the new service, which is a great alternative way to travel to the James Cook hospital site.”

Spencer Rail’s James Cook team will now move over to begin works on the new Apperley Station and car park in Bradford.

The final part of the WYRG project, Kirkstall Forge, is currently in the design stage and is expected to get underway towards the end of 2014.