A MULTI-MILLION-POUND refurbishment of Chester Railway Station has been opened by transport chiefs.

A cafe and passenger waiting area are the highlights of the improvements to the central area of the station, funded with a £2m investment from Arriva Trains Wales and £1.4m in grant funding.

This the first stage of an £11m project to bring the historic station up to modern standards.

Future improvements will include new gates at the entrance, the opening of a visitor information point on the concourse and a station clock as part of the restoration of the exterior frontage.

The grant funding was provided by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), National Stations Improvement Programme, The Railway Heritage Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and CWaC.

Ian Bullock, customer services director at Arriva Trains Wales, said: “We are pleased to be delivering this project alongside our partners to provide a much improved and brighter passenger experience at Chester station.

“These improvements will contribute to a station fit for the 21st century and will encourage more people to try the train.”

Chester station has seen an increase in passenger use during the past decade and this looks set to continue as the station is also a critical factor in the 10-year plan for a new, sustainable central business quarter of the city centre.

Sir William McAlpine, chairman of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “Chester station is now creating the right impression for visitors who come to this busy and historic city. I congratulate Arriva with the excellent work they have done, and praise their culture of working in partnership.”