WATCH: New Shrewsbury Railway Station facilities formally unveiled after £800k upgrade
"It may seem strange to celebrate the opening of some toilets but having good quality conveniences is what our passengers say is one of their top priorities."
The final part of the long-running £800,000 Shrewsbury Railway Station upgrade has been unveiled.
The refurbishing of the toilets was the last project to be completed after the roof, waiting rooms and information desk were all upgraded over the last two years.
WATCH: New station facilities explained
The new facilities were all formally unveiled yesterday, with the conclusion of the revamp coinciding with the Grade II listed building's 170th year in the town.
The work was part of Arriva Trains Wales’ investment programme to improve the facilities at stations around the country.
Managing director Tom Joyer officially unveiled the improvements on Friday.
He said: “This is the culmination of years of investment and hard work.
"In a time when it is very difficult to get grants, we have been able to attract £800,000 of investment for Shrewsbury station.
"It may seem strange to celebrate the opening of some toilets but having good quality conveniences is what our passengers say is one of their top priorities.
“This work has made Shrewsbury station more welcoming and more accessible, and that is absolutely vital.”
Built by Thomas Penson in 1848, the station opened in 1849 and had a lower storey added in 1901. It was listed by English Heritage in 1969.
The canopy roof over platforms 3, 4 and 7 was replaced in the first phase of the recent upgrade, which was completed in December 2017.
Funding for the schemes came via the National Station Improvement Programme with £449,000 in 2013/14, then a second grant of £360,000 which saw the new toilets completed this year.
Mr Joyer said the amount of people using the station each year has doubled from one to two million since Arriva Trains Wales took over the Wales and Borders franchise in 2003 and that figure is expected to rise.
Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Peter Nutting, hopes that number will reach three million in the coming years.
“I’m very, very proud of our station,” he said.
“It brings more and more people into Shrewsbury which is becoming a tourist destination.
“The station plays a vital role in the future of the town so it’s wonderful to see it being improved.
“I’m sure the number of people coming to the station will keep going up and that in the next few years it will be three million. I’m confident that will happen.”
Now Arriva has completed its improvement project, Network Rail will start theirs later this year.
Bill Kelly, interim route managing director for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, revealed work will start on cleaning and refurbishing the station canopies and restoring Dana Footbridge in the autumn.
The work is expected to be completed in autumn 2019.
He said: “We’ve worked closely with Arriva on this project so it’s great to see it all finished.
“Our work will now start later this year which includes a complete overhaul of the Dana Footbridge.”
The unveiling of the work came as some West Midlands Railway journeys between Shrewsbury and Birmingham New Street had to be cancelled because of staff shortages.