Rail users will have to wait even longer to find out when the £20 million new Northampton railway station will open after a crunch meeting between town leaders and Network Rail ended in frustration this morning.
Northampton South MP Brian Binley and leader of Northampton Borough Council David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) met with representatives from the rail operating company at the Guildhall at 11.30am today, to demand answers as to why the new facility on Black Lion Hill remains unopened.
But speaking a few moments ago, Mr Binley described the encounter as “One of the worst meetings I have ever been to in politics or in business,” claiming Network Rail did not give any further explanation as to the delay - other than to say it is working through a ‘snagging list’.
Mr Binley said in a statement: “We have been asking Network Rail for weeks to give us a date for the opening of the station and had tried to meet with them on a number of occasions.
“We have finally met with them today but we have still not been given the answers we need - a date for the opening and the reasons behind the delay.
“It was a very frustrating meeting, but we have demanded a date for the opening by the end of the day.”
The new facility, which will feature displays of Northampton’s heritage in the interior concourse and has an enclosed footbridge to protect passengers from the elements, was due to open in September, but still stands closed while the ‘snagging list’ of work is completed on the site.
Both Network Rail and London Midland - the firm due to operate the train services from the new station - are due to meet this afternoon, after which some answers may be forthcoming, Mr Binley added.
Councillor Mackintosh said he was also frustrated by the outcome of the meeting.
“The wonderful new station building is standing empty while rail passengers travelling to and from Northampton are forced to use the old station, which is outdated and uncomfortable,” he said.
“People have told us that they are, quite rightly, very frustrated by the delay and the lack of information about what is happening. We are looking forward to hearing further from Network Rail today.”