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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Facelift for Penrith railway station

A train station is getting its first major overhaul in 30 years.

Penrith railway station photo
Penrith station

Virgin is renovating its booking hall at Penrith – a move that will see opening hours cut but with a hope that services will improve.

That work will include improving heating, lighting and creating better access for disabled travellers.

Station manager Paul Nairn said: “This investment will lead to real improvements in the experience passengers have at Penrith. Staff will be more visible and better-placed to offer advice and help as people walk through the door. The station is already highly regarded by passengers, as shown in independent surveys by Passenger Focus, and these improvements will build on that success.”

Work is due to start next month and be completed in March.

As part of the changes, the opening hours of the ticket office will be changed from 5am to 9pm on Monday to Saturday to 5am to 5pm.

On Sundays, the office will close at 5pm rather than 9pm. Staffing levels at the station will not be affected.

Passengers travelling in the evening will still be able to purchase tickets by using the station’s fast ticket machine or onboard if paying by cash. Tickets for Advanced travel are currently only available until 5pm – 4.30pm on Sundays – so will not be affected.

More station staff are also being trained to work the ticket office window so it does not have to be closed because of staff sickness or holidays. The refurbishment will see the removal of a store room and two wooden doors onto the station front and platform one, which will be replaced by automatic sliding glass doors, improving access for wheelchair users. The doors are not part of the original features of the station but date from the last refurbishment, in 1985.

The project design has highlighted some natural features of the listed building such as the trussed roof and original fireplace which were previously obscured.

The existing industrial-type lighting will be replaced with a modern, stylish, attractive and efficient alternative. The hall will be redecorated with a new floor surface, new seating and redecorated walls and ceiling.

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