Published: 16:43, 23 November 2021
| Updated: 14:16, 26 November 2021
A railway station has received a £5.5 million upgrade which will be its first improvements in more than 60 years.
The multi-million pound investment for Swanley comes as Southeastern welcomes customers back to the railway by offering a more welcoming space to travel to and from.
The station has been fitted with two new spacious entrances, smarter waiting rooms, better toilet facilities, more information screens and upgraded lighting.
There will also be extra services running from Swanley station from December 12 and in February 2022 six additional City services per day, running between Maidstone East and Blackfriars.
Southeastern’s managing director Steve White said: "Our priority in the months ahead is to continue winning back our customers and reverse the shift away from rail travel that took hold during the pandemic.
"Rail is the greener way to travel and we want to make our service an easy and compelling choice for people to make.
"The station is often the beating heart of the community, and we aim to make ours as welcoming as possible. These improvements do just that."
The Station Approach road has also been improved to encourage visitors to walk or cycle and reduce traffic congestion, helping to improve air quality and safety and CCTV has been installed in a bid to increase customer and colleague safety and improve their travel experience.
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: "This upgrade transforms Swanley station into a modern experience for passengers – enhanced CCTV for passenger safety, reduced crowding and introducing new space for cyclists and passengers to wait.
"Not only will the investment improve access to the station, it will improve ticketing facilities while making them safer and more comfortable to pass through."
The open-planned, spacious improvements are the station's first for more than six decades and will serve the community for many years to come as the town grows and passenger numbers return.
Leader of Sevenoaks council Cllr Peter Fleming added: "The new station is exciting news for Swanley. Not only does it look amazing, it will improve the experience for the many rail travellers who use the station.
"We are very pleased to have secured £750,000 towards the project that is a fantastic gateway to the town."
It comes as a partnership between the two train companies which serve the station – Southeastern and Thameslink – along with Network Rail and the local authorities, Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council.
The station investment is an example of Southeastern’s continued focus on winning back its customers.
Other measures have included the introduction of flexible season tickets, more advance fares and the rolling out of the new City Beam trains onto the Dartford, Hayes and Sevenoaks routes.
Swanley's original station was built in 1939 and then rebuilt in 1959.