After a VERY long wait - long suffering passengers at Northampton station have been given some good news - a set has FINALLY been set to open the new Northampton station.
London Midland say the new £20m site will open NO LATER THAN January 12th.
Today, London Midland also confirmed the new lifts and over-bridge at Northampton Station will open on Monday (15 December).
London Midland has now begun the work to move staff and equipment in to the building as quickly as possible.
This process normally takes three to four weeks. However London Midland has committed to opening the station sooner if all of the equipment and testing can be completed earlier.
Covering 2,500 square metres, the new building is twice the size of the old station. Shortly after the station opens more features will be added including a Starbucks, a Café Republic and a W H Smith store as well as an Enterprise car rental outlet.
The station is fully accessible with a lift between the car park entrance and the booking hall. The booking hall leads to a new over-bridge with covered stairs and new lifts to all platforms. The new station also has more ticket barriers which means passengers can get to the platforms more easily than before. The station can be accessed from Black Lion Hill or via the car park opposite the entrance to the old station.
Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: "The new station is a fantastic addition to the town. Its modern design and new facilities provide a fitting gateway to Northampton and is the latest example of investment in the rail network to meet the demands of an increasing number of passengers. We have all been frustrated by the delay to the opening but I hope everyone will agree the new station was worth the wait when it comes into use."
London Midland's head of West Coast Services, Terry Oliver, said "After announcing 36,000 extra seats per week on our Northampton services this is just the news we have all been waiting for. Our priority now is to get the station ready for our passengers. We have a dedicated team focussed moving staff and equipment into the building as quickly as we can."
Cllr Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: "The new Northampton station will be a modern, fitting gateway into the town and our county and I'm delighted that work has now been completed. The county council is pleased to have been instrumental, including our critical financial support, in making this tremendous asset for Northampton become a reality."
Cllr David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: "Everyone has been extremely patient, and we'll all be glad to finally see the new station in use.
It is a key gateway to our town, and the kind of facility that rail passengers to and from Northampton have deserved for many years.
It will also be good to get on with demolition of the old station buildings so our plans for the new multi-storey car park can be put into operation."
Dates for the opening - which was originally scheduled for August - have come and gone - so passengers themselves may have run out of patience if this latest deadline isn't mead.