PLANS to invest millions of pounds in two of the region’s railway stations is due to move a step closer next week.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is looking to approve a request that will provide £25 million for Darlington station and £20 million to fully fund the redevelopment of Middlesbrough station.

He has pledged to finance the two schemes from the Transforming Cities Fund that has been devolved to the area from Government, which was topped up to £75.5million in the Autumn Budget.

The redevelopment of Darlington station will see the introduction of new platforms, improved track layout and signalling, improvements to the station including a new bridge, an improved western entrance, and a new eastern entrance.

Mr Houchen said: “I am proposing to use over half of the £75million transport fund devolved to our area from government to finance the redevelopment of Darlington and Middlesbrough stations.

“The importance and benefits of these two schemes cannot be understated. The people of the Tees Valley rightly demand high-quality rail links connecting them with the whole region and the rest of the country. If we do not make these important investments now, it is hard to see how these critical upgrades can go ahead.

“The redevelopment of Darlington station is a project of national significance to relieve pressures on the East Coast Main Line and improve services on our local line too. That’s why I am committing £25million to the project, but I’m clear that Government will also need to cough up to fund the rest.

"Government ministers are very much aware that this is one of my top transport priorities for the region, and I’ll continue to do all I can to push the case to ensure the rest of our plans for Darlington station are funded.”

The £20million earmarked for the Middlesbrough station redevelopment will make it ready to handle direct trains to London.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “We have been investing in the area in and around the station and a further investment in our scheme will allow the improved services which we have negotiated to take place.

“We have put forward a convincing business case which I am making the case for and we trust will be accepted and supported by my fellow Tees Valley leaders who make up the TVCA cabinet.”