NEW facilities at Winchester Railway Station officially opened on Friday.

The £3.7m improvement scheme includes a new double-decked open air car park and a glass and brick over-rail bridge complete with lifts for disabled passengers and parents travelling with young children.

Tony Potter, of the Department of Transport, said: “I think it’s excellent. It’s a real accomplishment for the stakeholders and the passengers. It’s made a real difference and it’s a station for the future.”

Sam McCarthy, commercial director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “We would like to thank the Department for Transport for their support in driving forward these improvements which will make a huge difference to the 4.5 million passengers using Winchester station every year.

“The works mean the capacity for the car park has increased by 20 per cent and there are 113 extra spaces. The response we’ve had indicates it is easing congestion around the town centre.”

Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, said: “I’m really pleased with these improvements. When I first got elected we had a station where disabled travellers had to get a taxi from one side to the other and I raised this in Parliament as we bid for Government money under the Access for All scheme that has funded the new footbridge and lifts. This is about access for all people.

“It fits in with the rest of the station; it’s well designed and looks like it’s been here all along.”

They were completed as part of the Government’s Access for All programme funded by the Department for Transport’s Station Commercial Property Fund.