Target date revealed for reopening Hartlepool's mothballed railway platform
A target date for boosting Hartlepool’s transport links by reopening the mothballed platform at the town’s main railway station has been revealed.
Leaders want to reinstate the disused second platform, which has remained closed throughout this century, before the return of the Tall Ships’ Races in 2023.
As well as attracting more visitors to the event – the station was constantly thronged with people during the 2010 races – its restoration is seen as crucial to improving both the town’s economy and the wider transport network.
The project also aims to create a second entrance to link the station to Hartlepool Marina.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has now said the plan is to open the platform before the 2023 races.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) has already signed of £1.5m of funding towards the estimated £20m cost of the project.
Talks are now continuing with Network Rail with government support also required.
Mayor Houchen, the target reopening date, said: “We’ve put the money that needs to go in to date to get plans in place but will also require some money from the Government.”
Hartlepool only has one platform at the moment but still welcomes 630,000 passengers every year.
It is thought to be the busiest single platform station in the country.
The TVCA’s 10-year rail plan says journey times on local lines are “uncompetitive” when compared to travelling by car at the moment.
Hartlepool is listed as a “pinch point” stopping more services coming in and improvements at Darlington and Middlesbrough stations are also aimed at freeing up capacity for more services.
Tom Bryant, transport officer at the TVCA, told the latest transport committee meeting how the combined authority wanted to create a “metro style” passenger system – with a 30 minute service at every station in the Tees Valley.
He added: “If we can achieve that at every station, it works into this concept of “turn up and go” – where you don’t necessarily have to think about which train you’re going to get.
“You turn up and go. At the minute, that’s not the case at a lot of our stations.”