“A dream come true” is how the new railway station building at Hassocks was described when the new state-of-the art building was formally opened today.
Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group Chair, Catherine Cassidy cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, heralding a new chapter in the history of the station.
This brand new, much awaited station building has been built as part of the Department for Transport’s National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP), and will bring noticeable and lasting improvements for passengers who use the station.
Through NSIP, the old station building at Hassocks has been replaced with a state of the art modern building, with a more spacious booking hall area making it easier for passengers to move through the station, particularly at the busiest times of the day; a height adjustable ticket office window; an accessible unisex toilet; new accessible benches; new soft seating in the booking hall; a retail kiosk; an Info Pod and cash machine.
Knowing that the subject of a new station was very close to the hearts of Hassocks residents, Southern worked closely with the Hassocks Rail Group on developing the station design – even to the point of agreeing the brick finish so that it blended in with the nearby railway cottages.
Shortly after the opening ceremony, work will start on the installation of lifts to both platforms, creating a step-free station. The lifts are being provided as part of the Government’s Access for All scheme.
The new station complex was formally opened on today by Catherine Cassidy at a ceremony attended by Southern’s MD, Chris Burchell, Network Rail’s Sussex Route Enhancement Manager, Simon Chapman, representatives from the Hassocks Amenity Association, Local Authorities, Sussex Community Rail Partnership, Network Rail, contractors and Southern project managers.
Catherine Cassidy said: “It is a dream come true. Years of persistent, patient campaigning by the Rail Group and the wider community has resulted in a station fit for the future. It will welcome our visitors, meet the requirements of our commuters, fulfil the expectations of our young people and be in tune with the needs of our older residents. We are immensely grateful to everyone who has made this happen.”
Chris Burchell said: “The journey to this great, new Hassocks station has been a long and interesting one, but our Hassocks passengers have finally got the station they expect and deserve. During that journey, we have consulted with, and worked closely with our partners on the design of this superb new station and once the lifts have been installed, it will truly be accessible for everyone. The end result is a station that offers outstanding passenger facilities and is now a fitting gateway for visitors to the South Downs National Park.”
Simon Chapman said: “The new Hassocks station provides passengers with a much improved start or end to their journey. Through the government's Access for All programme, Network Rail is about to start work to provide step-free access to all platforms, making it easy for all passengers to move between these excellent new facilities and the platforms. This will be the final piece of the jigsaw and will ensure that Hassocks station continues to be a vital part of the village and surrounding area.”
The previous station was built in 1972 and became no longer fit for purpose. The key to the design and construction of the new station building was in the use of off-site manufactured components that were delivered to site, enabling rapid assembly on pre-prepared foundations. This approach reduced costs and time on-site, minimising inconvenience to passengers.
The new building is also easier for railway staff to maintain, and provides more resistance to vandalism.
The new station building has been constructed using a stainless steel column and roof structure. This framework has a brickwork finish which is sympathetic with the railway cottages adjacent to the new station.
The National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) is a £150m Department for Transport backed rail industry scheme to enhance 150 medium sized stations in England and Wales. Typically the initiative responds to the key needs of passengers, to provide lasting improvements to facilities and the overall station environments including safe, secure and comfortable stations, whilst also providing suitable information.
In addition to the many passenger benefits, Rail infrastructure owner, Network Rail estimates that the maintenance costs at the station could be reduced by up to 75%, as a significant proportion of these costs were used to mend and patch-up the old building. These cost savings can now be invested elsewhere within the railway network.