Station regeneration
Trenitalia-owned train operator c2c has submitted a planning application for a multi-million-pound scheme to transform Barking station and deliver substantial benefits for both passengers and local residents.

The upgrade proposals provide increased capacity for growing numbers of passengers, reduce existing congestion, and celebrate the architectural heritage of the only Grade II-listed 1950s railway station in London. If planning approval is received, construction could begin as early as October.

Proposed improvements in the scheme, designed by leading architects Weston Williamson and Partners, include a complete redesign of the station concourse, including construction of a second ticket gateline adding eight extra ticket gates – a 100% increase to ease peak-time queues for passengers, doubling the size of the station entrances to improve the flow of people into the station and help reunite the station with the town’s high street, restoration of original architectural features that help to celebrate the Grade II-listed station and other benefits including increased retail space, new station toilets and the renewal of the station’s lift.

Raft of improvements
Thousands of TfL Rail customers will benefit from easier journeys as lifts serving all platforms opened at Maryland, Manor Park, Seven Kings and Forest Gate stations. The work to make the SN 154 bstations step-free is part of a wider programme of accessibility improvements across the TfL Rail network.

Howard Smith, TfL Rail Director of Operations, noted: “These new lifts are a first for these stations and will significantly improve the journeys of thousands of customers. Meanwhile, accessibility and other improvements continue at all TfL Rail stations that will be part of the new transformative Elizabeth line.”

Alan Benson, Chair of Transport for All, added: “I’m delighted these stations have become step-free, particularly as an accessible Elizabeth line is something we campaigned strongly for. These improvements will transform how disabled people can travel in and across the city, and make a huge difference to those who currently struggle to use London’s public transport network.”

TfL Rail customers at some stations are already benefitting from new shelters, new platform seating and improved customer information screens.

Further improvements are now underway at Brentwood, Harold Wood, Gidea Park and Romford TfL Rail stations. Customers at these stations will notice newly-painted canopies, light columns and platform buildings later this summer.

A fitting tribute
Sn 154 cStafford Station has unveiled a commissioned portrait and a new dog watering bowl in memory of Jake, their trainspotting dog. Over nine years, Jake had been a regular sight at Stafford train station and had become part of the Virgin Trains family; joining the station staff and delighting customers to welcome trains into the platform with lots of lively wags and barks. Such was his popularity, Jake helped launch the company’s new uniform in 2017. The envy of his canine friends, he was the proud owner of a bespoke dog-friendly uniform, carrying it off in in a way only Jake could. His untimely loss last year came as a shock to everyone.

“Jake was always guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” explained Fiona Main, Team Leader for Virgin Trains at Stafford. “We wanted to do something to honour his memory and were gobsmacked when one of our design team in London, in their own time, presented us with the portrait. It’s going to be pride of place in the ticket office and will ensure he’s always in our thoughts.”

The dog watering bowl, which can be found in the main concourse, and a handy stop for those travelling with their canine companions, has the simplest of messages: ‘Paws for a Refresh. In loving memory of Jake, our trainspotting dog. He loved this station, and we loved him.’