A better rail gateway for Hungerford?

on 05 February 2014.

better station hungerford

Hungerford station- welcome to the town?

“Would your readers agree,” asks MP Richard Benyon, “that Hungerford should have more of a welcoming gateway to the own and its surroundings when they arrive by rail?”

“A lot of money has been spent on the railway bridge which now looks as it should but I wonder if the town doesn’t deserve a better arrival experience for people visiting the town by train?”

As with the town’s future development, Richard is committed to listening to the views of the town’s residents so we asked readers and Hungerford railway station users for their comments.

Regular commuter from Hungerford to Pewsey, Simon Birch, told Hungerford Townsite: “In bad weather west-bound travellers have no shelter. It’s not so bad on the other side (Newbury and London) where the waiting area is less exposed but on this side we get a shelter area with a roof but no sides, it is very exposed.”

Also waiting for a west-bound train, passenger Jo Harvey added: “It’s not much of a welcoming start to coming to Hungerford is it? Waiting for trains can be a cold, wet experience – and when you arrive in Hungerford, which is such a lovely town, the station looks very ordinary and not really cared about.”

Simon also suggested that more train company representation would be good: “ There is an automatic ticket machine but machines don’t recognise discounts so you don’t always get the best priced ticket from it. If I want the cheapest available ticket I have to buy it on the train.”

Everyone we spoke to on the platforms agreed that the station needs attention. “Just a few hanging baskets and some nice signs saying ‘welcome’ would be a start,” said Jo.

Always active and passionate about presenting every aspect of Hungerford in its best possible light, Mayor Martin Crane OBE revealed that the start Jo is looking for is actually happening: “We have agreed with First Great Western that the station will indeed be getting new signage welcoming train travellers to the town and to Hungerford’s position as a gateway to the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The station will also soon benefit from some floral display troughs from the Garden Centre – and, on a practical point, the station’s litter bins will be more prominent and more regularly serviced.”

Martin said: “With MP Richard Benyon we are talking to both First Great Western and National Rail about further improvements to Hungerford station. We all agree that improvements are needed but I expect that further significant investment from First Great Western may depend on its longer term security of route franchise.

“For the future of the station, we are also considering all the options for development potential, access points and car parking, “ added Martin.

Said Richard Benyon: “The people of Hungerford are always very supportive of public meetings and mine are certainly always sparky affairs with some strenuous questioning. The matter of our railway station and its role as an entry point to the town and its valuable position at the heart of the North Wessex Downs is something about which I’m sure there will be some valuable opinions to be heard.”

If you have a view about Hungerford’s railway station – just let us know and we’ll publish the best, representative opinions.

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