Northampton’s £20 million train station will be open ‘no later than January 12’, train operators London Midland has announced following talks with Network Rail.
In the last few minutes, the company has also confirmed that the new lifts and over-bridge at Northampton Station will open on Monday, December 15.
London Midland has now begun the work to move staff and equipment in to the building as quickly as possible, it says.
The process normally takes three to four weeks, however the company says it has committed to opening the station sooner if all of the equipment and testing can be completed earlier.
London Midland’s head of west coast services, Terry Oliver, said: “After announcing 36,000 extra seats per week on our Northampton services this is just the news we have all been waiting for.
“Our priority now is to get the station ready for our passengers. We have a dedicated team focussed moving staff and equipment into the building as quickly as we can.”
Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “The new station is a fantastic addition to the town.
“Its modern design and new facilities provide a fitting gateway to Northampton and is the latest example of investment in the rail network to meet the demands of an increasing number of passengers.
“We have all been frustrated by the delay to the opening but I hope everyone will agree the new station was worth the wait when it comes into use.”
Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Jim Harker, said: “The new Northampton station will be a modern, fitting gateway into the town and our county and I’m delighted that work has now been completed.
“The county council is pleased to have been instrumental, including our critical financial support, in making this tremendous asset for Northampton become a reality.”
Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “Everyone has been extremely patient, and we’ll all be glad to finally see the new station in use.
“It is a key gateway to our town, and the kind of facility that rail passengers to and from Northampton have deserved for many years.
“It will also be good to get on with demolition of the old station buildings so our plans for the new multi-storey car park can be put into operation.”
The new building is twice the size of the old station, covering 2,500 square metres.
Shortly after the station opens more features will be added including a Starbucks, a Café Republic and a WH Smith store as well as an Enterprise car rental outlet, it has also been revealed today.
The booking hall leads to a new over-bridge with covered stairs and new lifts to all platforms. The new station also has more ticket barriers which means passengers can get to the platforms more easily than before.
The station can be accessed from Black Lion Hill or via the car park opposite the entrance to the old station.