A local authority which recently saw its £116m ambition to modernise and improve transport systems rejected by the government is to bid for £39m of funding to improve access to and facilities at three North Yorkshire railway stations.

A meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s executive heard its Conservative leadership signal its determination to carry out a range of works even if the proposed revamps at Thirsk, Scarborough, and Seamer stations do not secure Levelling Up Fund grants.

To qualify for the funding the council will need to demonstrate any investment will have “a visible impact on people and their communities”.

The county council’s proposals, which come three months after the council’s Bus Back Better funding bid to the government was rejected, aim to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists, increase railway usage, reduce rail journey times and support decarbonisation of the transport network.

The authority wants £5.4m to replace the footbridge linking platforms at Thirsk railway station with a new two-span bridge design with three lift towers.

Read more: Thirsk railway station is a 'nightmare' for those with mobility problems

The proposals aim to offer “step free access to every platform”, enhancing pedestrian and cycle access at the station.

Thirsk councillor Gareth Dadd told the meeting the scheme there was long overdue as disabled passengers, and those with luggage and prams, had Thirsk station had struggled with access for decades.


Thirsk station has major accessibility issues

Thirsk station has major accessibility issues


Executive member for transport, Councillor Keane Duncan said: “It would be a travesty if that bid was not to succeed, given the work that has gone into this. If the government is serious about levelling up all parts of the country, that has to include rural parts of North Yorkshire.”

There have been growing calls for improvements to the station in recent months. In May, the D&S Times reported how it is virtually "off-limits" to anyone with mobility problems. Thirsk and Northallerton railway group said passengers were having to travel onto York or Northallerton and complete their trip by taxi.

At Seamer station the authority aims to provide a new pedestrian and cycle link connecting the station to residential sites in the west, a new three-span open footbridge across the rail line and A64, including lifts to platforms 1 and 2, and a new station car park to the east of the track on to the A64.

It is envisaged the proposals will complement National Highways proposed shared use path along the A64 which finish at the Dunslow Road roundabout.

The council believes the £25.2m scheme will improve safety, create increased access to employment sites and business opportunities and increase station passenger demand.

Finally, the authority wants £8.4m for a transport hub featuring facilities including cycle storage, hire, repair and amenities, bus stands and waiting areas, taxi booking stands, electric vehicle rental facilities and some commercial space at Scarborough railway station.

The transport hub is part of a wider master plan for the station and surrounding area, led by Scarborough Borough Council, which has already secured £6.68m of grants to revamp the station and town centre buildings.

Former Scarborough council leader Councillor Derek Bastiman told the meeting the proposals would reinvigorate a historic part of central Scarborough, and strengthen the connections between the train station and the town centre and sea front.

He added the Seamer proposal would provide a long-awaited kick-start for Eastfield Business Park.