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Business & Economy

First phase of ‘transformational’ Darlington rail station upgrade approved

Regeneration bosses have approved the first phase of a £105 million station upgrade in the cradle of the railways.

Darlington Borough Council planners have backed a blueprint to overhaul the eastern side of the town’s rail hub to include a new entrance, station building and concourse.

It will also create three new platforms, which bosses say will boost future services by improving frequency and reliability across East Coast Main Line and local routes.

A decision on further work to upgrade the station’s western side – which will include new road layouts, wider pavements and better walking and cycling access – is expected in the coming weeks. 

Work is planned to be completed in time for 2025’s 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which will recognise Darlington as the birthplace of the modern railway. 

Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Borough Council and Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet lead for transport, said: “This decision takes us a step closer to delivering transformational change to support economic growth and aspirational rail improvements, and will help unlock issues on the East Coast Main Line that impact on services.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who previously provided £25 million support for the work, added: “I’m delighted that we’ve passed this hurdle and we can get on with delivering a high-quality station.

“These plans will make it easier than ever for people to get to and from our region by train, which will be vitally important as we look to capitalise on all the opportunities like Teesside International Airport, freeport and the Government’s Northern Economic Campus are presenting us with right now.

“More than that, it’ll make it even easier for people from across the region to get out and about, to work, to see loved ones and spending in our towns again as we come out of the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.”