The improvements now arriving . . .

MAJOR improvements to the railway stations at Huntingdon and St Neots are planned for later this year, with substantial expansion of parking in 2008. Work is expected to start next month on the long-planned £100,000 bus interchange at the front of Hunting

MAJOR improvements to the railway stations at Huntingdon and St Neots are planned for later this year, with substantial expansion of parking in 2008.

Work is expected to start next month on the long-planned £100,000 bus interchange at the front of Huntingdon station, now that the station's owner, Network Rail, has at last agreed the detail of the scheme.

And, following pressure from Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, train operator First Capital Connect (FCC) has agreed to install car park ticket machines that accept credit cards and £2 coins.

FCC told Huntingdonshire District Council leader, Councillor Ian Bates, that a new waiting shelter would be installed on Huntingdon's platform three - trains to Peterborough - this month. A new ticket counter suitable for use by disabled people would be operational in March, and a new coffee franchise - the previous one mysteriously burned down two years ago - would start operation.


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Other plans this year include additional CCTV cameras linked to a central control unit, a new help point and two ticket machines on the platforms.

In the Huntingdon car parks there will be six new cash-only ticket machines installed in the spring and three that also accept credit cards. Lines will be re-painted and 24 spaces dedicated to disabled passengers will be provided.

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Work on adding 112 spaces to the car park is expected next year.

St Neots will gain one new cash-only machine and two that also accept cards. The car park there, too, will be re-lined with 15 spaces for disabled people.

For the longer term, cash from the nearby 1,250-home Loves Farm developers, Gallagher, will fund a new footbridge with lifts to the platforms, which are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. FCC is also looking at the feasibility of expanding the often-full car park.

FCC managing director Elaine Holt told Mr Djanogly that diagnostic software in new car park ticket machines would tell the operator if a fault developed and would trigger a repair.

She also promised to improve landscaping and maintenance at the stations.

Both stations will have ticket gates installed to prevent people travelling without paying.

A spokesman for FCC, which is part of the First bus and rail group, said the improvements were promised when the company won the franchise last year from National Express subsidiary WAGN.

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