Local community celebrates £1.5m upgrade of Thameslink station
The Mayors of Hertsmere and Elstree joined Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director Tom Moran and 40 representatives of the local community on Friday to officially open their extended and improved railway station.
The £1.5m improvement project by Thameslink, completed on schedule by its contractor HA Marks earlier this year, has more than doubled the size of Elstree & Borehamwood station concourse and added extra ticket gates to relieve crowding.
There are better, accessible toilets, a larger Nisa mini supermarket and space for a new Costa coffee shop which, when fitted out, will be accessible from both the station and the platform.
Mr Moran, who unveiled a plaque with the Mayor of Hertsmere, Cllr Rabbi Alan Plancey, and Elstree Town Mayor Cllr Simon Rubner, said: “It’s fitting to have so many from the community here with our staff today; it demonstrates how Elstree & Borehamwood Railway station is so important to the vitality of this area.
“Over three million passengers come through the gates here every year and the numbers are rising. What we have done through this project is give the community the station they deserve.”
Cllr Plancey said: “We’re delighted with the new look Elstree and Borehamwood station. We finally have a station which reflects our thriving borough and meets the needs of the increasing numbers of commuters and travellers who live, work and visit here.
“This has been a great partnership project between us, Thameslink, contractors HA Marks and Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council. I want to thank everyone involved and hope everyone using this station has a pleasant experience.”
Cllr Rubner is a daily Thameslink commuter. He said at the ceremony: “We were in dire need of a new station as this is one of the busiest. The old building was shabby and gave a poor impression. It was overcrowded and commuters regularly queued on the platform to get out of the station. This modern designed station is more suited to the commuter. It was finished on time and is not only pleasant to use but also pleasant to look at.”
The station has been significantly enhanced through the work of First Impressions and its chair Bob Redman. Hollywood ‘stars in the pavement’ and giant murals celebrate the town’s screen heritage. Together with the Youth Council he has cared for the flowers in planters in the forecourt during the rebuild.
In a moving ceremony after the station had been officially opened, station staff stalwarts Rachel James and colleague ‘Siggy’ presented a second plaque to the family of Don O’Brien, who was station master at Elstree for many years and sadly passed away last year. A close colleague of Don’s, Larry Heyman, came out of retirement to read a speech. The plaque will be put up next to one of the new ticket office windows.