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18 March 2010, 05:42
Plans to redevelop Bedford's Station Quarter will be discussed at a public meeting tonight.
It's being held at the Guru Ravi Dass Centre off Ashburnham Road and starts at 7.15pm this evening. The MP for Bedford and Kempston, Patrick Hall will chair the meeting.
Representatives from Bedford Borough Council, First Capital Connect, developers and Network Rail will be on hand to show off plans for the area and take questions from members of the public.
Network Rail will unveil images showing its plans for a new, environmentally-friendly station for Bedford. If planning permission is granted, the company aims to have the new station complete in time for the introduction of longer, 12-car trains in December 2011.
The tracks and platforms at Bedford station are currently being transformed as part of the £5.5bn Thameslink upgrade.
As part of this redevelopment platform 1A is being extended to accommodate 12-car train (currently it can only cater for 4-car services), creating additional capacity and increasing reliability and punctuality. To enable this new platform and track to be built, major changes will be needed to the station building.
Dyan Crowther, Network Rail route director, said: "The congestion-busting Thameslink upgrade will give passengers what they want – longer trains and more space. A new station building will complete our investment at Bedford and help make rail travel a more attractive option for everyone.
"Building the new station building alongside the existing one will mean minimal disruption for passengers and allow us to maintain access for the public throughout construction."
Network Rail say they intend to submit a full planning application for the new station building to Bedford Borough Council after Easter.