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'Filthy' Leamington Station Gives A Wrong Signal

Claims that Leamington rail station is ‘filthy’ and ‘disgusting’ have been rejected by the company that runs it.

The Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise has spoken out after visitors attending a conference complained about the state of the station. 

It is concerned that this could give a poor first-impression to people visiting station.

Keir McDonald, chair of the Mid-Warwickshire branch of the The Chamber, said there has been some effort, but not enough:

“Despite clearly visible efforts being made by the train providers to improve the quality of service between Leamington Spa and major cities throughout the UK, the station remains a disgrace in terms of appearance, with amenities that desperately need to be brought into the 21st century.

“I was appalled to hear the opinion of recent rail commuters to an event we hosted, and was left embarrassed by reports of litter, chewing gum and the foul smell of urine in the underpass.

“Leamington Spa came second in a nationwide poll earlier this year to discover the most profitable towns in the country, so in order for this prosperity to continue, it needs to be reflected in prominent locations throughout the town.

“Thousands of commuters visit Leamington Spa by rail every month, some for the first time, and when they are greeted by the shambolic state of the station, it delivers a message contradictory to the thriving business community the town wants to deliver.”

But the claims have been rejected by Central Trains. It runs Leamington and all but one of the rail stations in Warwickshire.

The company pointed out:

  • £30,000 has been spent on CCTV in the area

  • the car park is being enlarged at a cost of £200,000, and extra lighting has been installed

  • the underpass which has attracted complaints is not part of the station, but is under the jurisdiction of the council

  • the station is swept daily

  • it was re-painted in 1997

  • Railtrack is about to install new lifts

  • A new automated ticket machine has been put in to cut queues

  • Chiltern and Central Trains are to announce a package for further improvements for the station, but cannot yet give details

  • there have been half-a-dozen complaints about the station this year from the pubic: mostly about staff, not about facilities

A Central Trains spokesman said:

“We can always do better, and we can keep spending money. I was there last week and it looked all right to me.

“We will work with others and we will do what we can, but we have not sat back and done nothing. This is an old station, but there has been plenty of money spent there.

“The people who are complaining are not talking about the station - if they mean the underpass than that belongs to the council and is not part of the station.”

Nick Madeley, Warwickshire director of the Chamber, said the station must be improved, or it could start to affect business in the area.

“It is vital to develop and maintain a clean and modern Leamington Spa station, in line with the other major towns in the country, otherwise business confidence will dwindle and the knock-on effect could prove to be disastrous.

“For many visitors, especially business people, the first impression of a town is personified through the train station, and currently Leamington is failing to mirror the excellent business practices that are keeping the town as a beacon for others to aspire towards.

“The Chamber will continue to campaign for better facilities within Leamington, and through consultation with relevant bodies we hope to being the appearance of the station in line wit the rest of the town as soon as possible.”

Rail services from Leamington include long distance Virgin Cross Country Trains, commuter and local services to local stations in Warwickshire and the west Midlands from Central Trains, and a regular London to Birmingham service offered by Chiltern Railways.

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CWN / Business / The Chamber / 06 Sep 00

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