High hopes for hospital railway link

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HOSPITAL patients could gain from a £4.5m boost for plans to improve Tees Valley’s rail network.

The cash injection has come from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and continues the campaign to upgrade stations and the area’s rail network.

The main part of the work, revealed by the local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited, will involve building a new station at the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, which is used by patients from Hartlepool and east Durham.

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The hospital, run by South Tees NHS Trust, offers specialist services in cancer care as well as spinal injuries and neurological facilities.

There will be improvements to passenger facilities at 11 existing stations, including Billingham, and those further south at Stockton, Allens West, Gypsy Lane, Longbeck, Marske, Marton, Nunthorpe, Redcar Central, Redcar East and South Bank.

The improvements will include electronic timetables, better signs, better lighting and the installation of CCTV.

TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole said: “This is excellent news for Tees Valley.

“The £4.5m will help a long-standing aspiration of a railway station at James Cook University Hospital and also enables considerable development across 11 Tees Valley stations already in use, all essential in this first phase of the scheme.

He added: “It also levers in significant private sector funding and support from Network Rail and Northern Rail and positive engagement with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.

“It will help us realise one of our priority transport ambitions to improve passenger facilities, enhance our existing rail network and support the economic regeneration of the area by increasing the mobility of workers and the accessibility of key sites.”

Cash from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund has been used in several schemes in Hartlepool, including the redevelopment of the town’s main train station.