MAJOR plans to revamp Castleford railway station could lead to new jobs and boost the town’s tourism, according to council chiefs.
Castleford Councillors Denise Jeffrey and Tony Wallis hope a £135,000 scheme to tidy up the Powell Street site will be the first step in improving station’s facilities and creating railway links to wider areas.
Station owners Network Rail confirmed the cash would be spent on removing the footbridge to the station’s second platform – which has not had a regular service for more than 40 years – weeding and resurfacing the platform, as well as securing and tidying a disused signal box.
But two councillors have now launched a petition to try to get the second platform reopened in a bid to boost jobs and bring tourists to Castleford by introducing a direct railway service to towns including Scarborough and York.
Coun Wallis said: “We are very pleased to have the funding to knock down the footbridge and revamp the second platform.
“But it is ridiculous that we cannot use that platform. Reopening it would mean we could make links to more northern cities, which would create job opportunities for residents in York or Scarborough, and allow tourists interested in York’s archaeological attractions to visit Castleford as well.
“We have our own archaeological heritage which needs to be more accessible to the public and tourist groups.
“The petition to reopen platform two needs to be signed by as many people as possible to show the train operators enough people would use the new train service to benefit them.
“I have been told it would cost more to make the current bridge safe and accessible for wheelchairs than starting again, so we hope this funding to remove the footbridge will make way for a new one, before reopening the platform.”
The railway station project is part of a multi-million pound plan to transform bus and rail services in Castleford, which was approved by transport bosses in June.
Coun Jeffery, cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: She said: “I’m really pleased that funding has been secured for some improvements at Castleford station.
“However, this is only the beginning. We will continue to lobby for more improvements to the station in a bid to improve facilities and transport links in the area.
“This petition is all down to people power and it is important that we can get as many people as possible behind the campaign.
“We want this service for Castleford and need to prove to the train operators it will be worth while to everyone involved.”
A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “We recognise that Castleford station is in need of some attention.
“Our works will tidy up the redundant platform, footbridge and signal box, making it a more welcoming environment for passengers.”