The official opening of Kidderminsters refurbished station took place with Paralympic silver medallist Rebecca Redfern unveiling a plaque marking the occasion.
Operated by West Midlands Railway the station actually re-opened during June 2020 following its huge multi-million-pound transformation but due to Covid-19 restrictions throughout the country, no official ceremony was able to be carried out to celebrate its opening.
The event was held by Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and included guest speakers who were invited to mark the opening and saw Droitwich-born Rebecca who won the silver at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics for the 100-metre breaststroke unveil the plaque.
Councillor Alan Amos, from WCC, said: “I’m so pleased that we have finally been able to celebrate the opening of this wonderful, fully refurbished station. Investment into infrastructure has been greater in recent years than at any stage in the last three decades and we continue our investment into transport and seek to better connect our places, people and businesses across Worcestershire and beyond. Our investment into improving the rail network, and working with partners to achieve this, is an important part of our long-term strategy for better connection.”
Ian Baxter, from project managers SLC Rail, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve come together to mark the transformation of Kidderminster station. This has seen SLC Rail, and many other organisations and partners, support Worcestershire County Council to bring to life its vision to create a new inviting gateway that we can all be proud of. It’s just the start of a better connected railway for Kidderminster, as we progress plans Worcestershire’s ambitions for new services towards Oxford and London and improved car parking provision.”
Simone Carter, station manager for West Midlands Railway, said: “The new-look Kidderminster Station is already making a positive difference to our customers’ journeys and will continue to do so for decades to come. As more passengers continue to return to the railway following the pandemic, it is a privilege for our station team to be able to welcome people back in such an improved, comfortable and spacious environment.”
The transformation of the station has seen a contemporary glass-fronted station building put in place which has doubled the size of the original building.
Alongside the new structure, improvements were made to the forecourt to make it safer for pedestrians to gain access to the station and has also allowed for a drop-off, taxi and disabled parking facilities.
The funding for the huge transformative project was via Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership using their Local Growth Fund and with additional contributions from Worcestershire County Council and Wyre Forest District Council.