PLANS to transform Newcastle Central Station and its surroundings as part of a multi-million pound regeneration project have been unveiled today (Tuesday, April 30).

Newcastle City Council, Network Rail, East Coast NE1 Ltd propose to create a magnificent sweeping gateway into the city.

These changes marry with the work that was recently announced by East Coast Rail and Network Rail to redevelop the interior of Newcastle Central Station.

The £20m project is being funded by NE1, the Regional Growth Fund, Newcastle City Council, East Coast and Network Rail. East Coast and Network Rail’s plans for the station interior include the pedestrianisation and glazing of the station portico, doubling space allocated for retail and improving facilities with a new travel centre, better toilets and clearer signage.

The £8.6m project to improve the inside of the station and its portico – 150 years old this year - is being funded by the Department for Transport’s Station Commercial Project Facility Fund.

There will be wider footways, space for pavement cafes and improved pedestrian access to and from the station. Direct pedestrian crossings will also be provided on Neville Street and lower Grainger Street.

A two-way cycle track will be created at the west end of Neville Street, south of St Mary’s Cathedral and the flow of traffic at the front of the station will also be altered to ease congestion in the area, while maintaining public transport links and drop-off and collection points.

Taxis will no longer be able to enter the portico. Instead they will continue to rank from Orchard Street with a pick-up area just to the east of the portico. The work is expected to be complete by summer 2014.