Paralympic silver-medallist Rebecca Redfern unveiled a special plaque at Kidderminster Railway Station to mark its official opening.
The new look station opened in June 2020 following a multi-million-pound transformation. Due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions nationwide at the time, no official event could be held to mark the opening.
Worcestershire County Council held an opening event with invited guests on Friday (3 December) to mark the occasion, with a plaque unveiled at the station by Droitwich-born Rebecca who won silver at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in the 100-metre breaststroke event.
Councillor Alan Amos, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m so pleased that we have finally been able to celebrate the opening of this wonderful, fully refurbished station.
“Investment into infrastructure has been greater in recent years than at any stage in the last three decades and we continue our investment into transport and seek to better connect our places, people and businesses across Worcestershire and beyond.
“Our investment into improving the rail network, and working with partners to achieve this, is an important part of our long-term strategy for better connection.”
“Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Worcestershire LEP is proud to have invested in the transformation of Kidderminster Rail Station, expanding the station to meet the growing footfall now and expected in the future.
“This investment forms part of Worcestershire’s Plan for growth to 2040 to better connect the county within the wider region. This improvement now leads the work to develop the improvement of services in the county.”
Ian Baxter, Strategy Director at SLC Rail said: “I’m delighted that we’ve come together to mark the transformation of Kidderminster Railway Station. This has seen SLC Rail, and many other organisations and partners, support Worcestershire County Council to bring to life its vision to create a new inviting gateway that we can all be proud of.
“It’s just the start of a better connected railway for Kidderminster, as we progress plans Worcestershire’s ambitions for new services towards Oxford and London and improved car parking provision.”
Simone Carter, West Midlands Railway Station Manager, said: “The new-look Kidderminster Station is already making a positive difference to our customers’ journeys and will continue to do so for decades to come.
“As more passengers continue to return to the railway following the pandemic, it is a privilege for our station team to be able to welcome people back in such an improved, comfortable and spacious environment.”
Rebecca Redfern added: “It was an honour to be invited along to the official opening and to unveil the plaque. The station looks very impressive now so well done to all involved.”
The station in Kidderminster features an impressive glass-fronted station building, which is double the size of the old building. Along with the new building, there were a number of other improvements made to the forecourt area to make it safer for pedestrians to access the station and to improve the drop-off, taxi and disabled parking arrangements.
The improvement works were mainly funded by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership via the Local Growth Fund with contributions from Worcestershire County Council and Wyre Forest District Council.
Amongst the guests in attendance were Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest; Councillor Alan Amos, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways and Transport; representatives from SLC Rail, West Midlands Rail Executive, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, Wyre Forest District Council, Buckingham Group Contracting, Cotswold Line Promotion Group, Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership, Kidderminster Railway Museum, West Midlands Railway and Severn Valley Railway.
The completion of Kidderminster Railway Station in June 2020 followed the opening of Worcestershire Parkway Railway Station in Norton in February of that year, Worcestershire’s first new railway station for over 100 years.
Kidderminster Railway Station is the second busiest station in Worcestershire, with nearly 2 million passengers using the station every year before the pandemic hit.
Pictured: (L-R) Former County Councillor Ken Pollock, Councillor Alan Amos, Rebecca Redfern, Ian Baxter and MP Mark Garnier at the station official opening.