A key passenger stairway at Heaton Chapel station has fully reopened for business after vandalism caused significant damage last year.
Liam Sumpter, Regional Director at Northern, Councillor John Taylor and Robert Ellams, Asset Engineer for buildings at Network Rail were joined by the Friends of Heaton Chapel station group and key stakeholders for the opening of a new stairway and to celebrate further improvements at the station.
Liam said: “Following the installation of new roofing and the completion of other enhancements at Heaton Chapel during the past 12 months, I am delighted to confirm that the station has returned to business as usual.
“The station looks the best it ever has, which is a testament to the joint efforts of industry stakeholders in the region, including Network Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, Carillion and Northern.
“But the pinnacle of the improved station is undoubtedly the work undertaken by community group, Friends of Heaton Chapel (FoHC) station. FoHC continue to work tirelessly to give the station some real character and make it more welcoming for customers.
“They have delivered a number of projects, such as the development and ongoing maintenance of gardens and installation of numerous art projects.”
“Well done to everyone involved with getting the station up and running again and thanks to our customers for their patience over the last year.”
Some of the artwork produced and installed by the Friends of Heaton Chapel (FoHC) station group was destroyed during last year’s incident. But, following the repair work, the group has been working with a local professional artist to design twelve pieces of artwork which depict iconic buildings from the Four Heatons; Mersey, Moor, Norris and Chapel, and these have now been installed at the station.
Robert Ellams said: “We are delighted our partnership work with Northern to refurbish Heaton Chapel station has made this well-used and much-loved transport hub safer and more welcoming for rail users.
“The £300,000 improvements form a key part of our Railway Upgrade Plan – a nationwide programme of rail upgrades that will help deliver better travelling experiences for passengers."
Councillor John Taylor, Heatons North Ward Stockport said: “I congratulate the rail industry and its partners for pulling together to make the station spic and span and undertaking essential repairs.
“Today’s ceremony inaugurates an era of co-operation between the rail industry, the Friends of Heaton Chapel Station and other stakeholders, in the interests of the travelling public; and to further develop the amenities of the station in its own right."
Roy Chapman, vice-chairman of FoHC said, “It was great to celebrate the official opening of the much improved station. The work by Network Rail and Northern has been wonderfully enhanced by the new artwork provided by FoHC.
“The stainless steel cut-out figures, together with images created by local artist Eamon Murphy and the latest planting by our hard-working gardening team, combine to enhance the overall experience at Heaton Chapel station.
“Thanks are due to Northern, Network Rail and Carillion for the completion of all repairs. In turn that has been a catalyst in the development of future ambitious plans by FoHC for undertaking more projects, including refurbishing the disused upstairs parts of the station for commercial and community use.
“We look forward to working with railway industry stakeholders to realise these aspirations.”