Demand to fix '˜rundown' Portsmouth train station
TODAY The News demands a rundown eyesore station be brought up to scratch to serve as a true gateway for the city.
Portsmouth Harbour station sees thousands of people arrive on rail each week – and even the Queen made her way to Portsmouth via the station.
Dreary blank grey, corrugated metal walls, hoardings and tired old buildings meet commuters, tourists and shoppers heading for the Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf Quays or further on into the city.
Gleaming next to the tired building, a new modern-looking steel and glass £11m transport hub – the Hard Interchange – looks light years ahead of its neighbour.
South Western Railway is looking at £90m of improvements to stations but no promises have been made.
Commuters have told of their dissatisfaction with the sight of the train station.
Tina Wood, 35, from Cosham, said: ‘It isn’t very nice when you step off the bus into the lovely, modern bus terminal and are met by the station which looks old.
‘I do think it would have been better to do them both at the same time rather than just doing one because now the station looks a lot worse.
‘The road looks like it is sinking too so there are other problems that need fixing.’
Jack Leonards, 19, from Southsea, added: ‘You get a good impression when you come to The Hard and see the bus station and HMS Warrior. But the train station is out of place, it is a mismatch of old and new. The station does need a big improvement.’
In contrast, Southampton Central was last year promised a £1.4m refurbishment.
Councillor Donna Jones, council leader, has backed our call – and has been in talks with train bosses for years.
Cllr Jones said: ‘Portsmouth Harbour train station is one of the most rundown train stations in the UK.
‘This is startling considering it is sitting next the second-strongest designer outlet in the UK of Gunwharf Quays and the most significant maritime historic areas in the world with the historic dockyard. ‘
She said it was ‘staggering’ Network Rail had ‘failed to prioritise the redevelopment’.
She wants to put up billboards to hide the station..
‘We are considering constructing LED advertising boards on our land immediately in front of the station to essentially remove the majority of it from view,’ she added.
‘This will create a vibrant and upbeat public realm area to welcome visitors.’
A Network Rail and South Western Railway spokesman said: ‘We are always happy to hear ideas about how we can improve our stations and will work alongside local authorities to explore these.’