Sir Richard Branson steps up to improve BritainΓÇÖs worst train stations
Since Lord Adonis blew the whistle on some of the UK’s worst train stations, Sir Richard Branson has called for the private sector to step forward and address the problems faced by thousands of public transport users every day.
Virgin Trains manages five of the ten most critical stations that have been named and shamed, and has now reportedly pledged ┬ú100 million to upgrade the premises.
According to The Times, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said:
“Stations are clearly in need of major overhaul and, with public finances under constraint, the time is right for the private sector to be even more heavily involved in pioneering projects that would radically change public perceptions.”
The issues have been brought to light by a Government inspection, spurred initially by the Secretary of State for Transport Lord Adonis’ national rail tour, which saw ‘mystery shopper’ style assessors scrutinise stations around the country.
Manchester Victoria and Clapham Junction were named as the worst stations, followed closely by Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Barking, Preston, Wigan North Western, Luton, Liverpool Central and Stockport.
The report, published yesterday, called for the launch of an emergency rebuilding programme and the immediate injection of ┬ú50million from the Government.
Following his national tour of the UKΓÇÖs stations, Lord Adonis was reportedly “appalled” by the state of some of the UK’s stations.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “The whole impetus to improving stations came from my national rail tour, when I was shocked by the state of many stations and was struck by the contrast of the improvement in quality of trains and train services and the shoddy state of many stations,” adding, “There are far too many cases of stations which are offering inadequate service and are in desperate need of modernisation.”
Lord Adonis said that the ┬ú50million would be released, and has now appointed non-executive director of Network Rail Chris Green and Sir Peter Hall to advise the Government on station improvements.