Ten worst rail stations to get £50 million

LONDON (Reuters) - The 10 worst train stations in Britain are set to undergo a 50 million pound makeover, the government said on Tuesday.

A worker walks alongside tracks near Clapham Junction station in London June 6, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

They were identified in a report by “Station Champions” who had travelled the country to see where urgent action was needed.

They found the worst stations were: Clapham Junction, Barking, Stockport, Manchester Victoria, Preston, Wigan North Western, Liverpool Central, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Luton.

“While touring the rail network in April this year, I was struck by the great variation in the passenger facilities at stations,” said Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis.

“Train travel has improved a good deal in recent years, but more needs to be done to improve conditions and services for passengers at stations.”

Last week, Network Rail said more than 3 billion pounds would be spent over the next five years to improve thousands of stations with new information systems, toilets, better lighting, and refurbished ticket halls.

Adonis said he agreed with the Champions’ recommendation that there should be a minimum standard for all stations on issues such as providing information and car and bike parking facilities.

“Stations are deeply entwined with their local community and effectively act as the gateway to both town and railway,” the Station Champions’ report said.

“They leave passengers with their lasting impressions of both -- a dilapidated station is bad business for both town and railway.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Passenger Focus, said passengers at small stations had waited too long for access to information about services.

“Passengers standing on windswept platforms across Britain should be able to find out if their train is coming or not,” he said.

“There are all too many stations that do not have any real-time information and in the 21st century this is outrageous.”

The watchdog said passenger satisfaction was heavily dependent on station size, with those using small, unstaffed stations the most unhappy.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison