WORK has begun on a railway station to serve James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Patients, staff and visitors to one of the region’s busiest hospitals will be able to catch up to 17 trains a day in each direction from this summer.

Following a successful application to the local sustainable transport fund, Tees Valley Unlimited secured Department for Transport funding for the new station which will be run by Network Rail.

The £2.2m facility, located between Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe stations, will have a single platform and provide a fully-lit waiting shelter with seating, full CCTV coverage and passenger information including an electronic screen and public address announcements.

It will also provide extra public transport to the planned sports village off Marton Road.

Managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), Stephen Catchpole, said: “We are delighted that work has now started on this strategically important rail scheme, developed with a number of our key partners.

“It will fill a significant gap in the existing rail network and provide an alternative means of access to one of the area’s largest employment sites and other surrounding developments, which are located along a busy transport corridor.”

South Tees’ director of service strategy and infrastructure Jill Moulton said the station, had been in the pipeline for 25 years.

“The rail link will be a major boost for the trust, our staff and our patients,” she explained. “We also hope it will encourage more staff to leave their cars at home and help us reduce our carbon footprint.”

Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for transport, councillor Nicky Walker, said the new structure would make a valuable contribution to the transport infrastructure of Middlesbrough and the wider Teesside area.

“It will fill a critical gap in the rail network and over time lead to a substantial reduction in the number of cars using Marton Road,” she said.

Managing director for Northern Rail, Alex Hynes, added: “This partnership is not only adding a train station to the developing community, it is also improving the current service we deliver and we’re thrilled to be part of this exciting project."