New Saxmundham station due to reopen after fire
- Credit: Mark Eley/Suffolk Fire and Rescue
Saxmundham's new £1.3m railway station is to be formally re-opened on Friday, three years after the former building was destroyed in a devastating fire.
The new station is a single-storey building with a waiting room that has air-conditioning, wifi, phone and laptop charging points. There are ticket machines and the whole station area is covered by security lights and CCTV cameras to improve safety.
The new building includes part of the Victorian station that was ravaged by the fire - and it has been designed to fit in with a historic part of the town.
Greater Anglia says it hopes it is a fitting gateway to a growing community which has seen passenger numbers increase over the last few years.
Saxmundham station acts as the rail gateway for several other towns and villages in the area, including Leiston and Aldeburgh, and its car park has been extended to offer spaces for 48 vehicles, two Blue Badge spaces and parking for motorcycles.
The original station was severely damaged by fire in February 2018, just as a new group was hoping to take it over and turn it into an arts centre for the town.
That plan had to be dropped because of the state of the building - and Greater Anglia announced its plans to rebuild the station as a single-storey building later that year.
Early this year local MP Dr Therese Coffey criticised the slow speed of the rebuilding work, which also included building a new platform and shelter for passengers taking north-bound trains on the opposite side of the tracks.
However she is expected to visit the station during the reopening to see what it now offers her constituents.
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Greater Anglia’s asset management director, Simone Bailey, said, “Seeing the lovely old building ravaged by fire was devastating. We initially thought that the entire building would have to be demolished.
“We’re pleased to have worked closely with the community, listening to their views to come up with an upgrade programme which, although it does not reinstate the entire building, keeps its character and improves the facilities."