A £2MILLION revamp of Gloucester railway station is on the cards.
The station has long been criticised for letting down one of Gloucester’s key entry points for visitors.
But the frontage and the approach to the station are set for a major overhaul after a successful campaign for action.
Network Rail chief executive David Higgins said: “We are pleased to confirm that we are already in discussions regarding proposals for improvements. I understand that both Network Rail and First Great Western have committed some support.
“We will therefore continue our discussions regarding the city of Gloucester’s aspirations for the station.”
The comments were made in a letter to Gloucester City Council leader Paul James who wrote to Mr Higgins asking that action be taken to sort out the station.
Some works have already been carried out, including the installation of a new lift to provide step-free access to platforms.
But a major makeover is needed in time for the thousands of Rugby World Cup visitors expected to descend on the city in September 2015, councillors have said.
Mr James said: “I am keen that when we have the Rugby World Cup here we present the best possible image for the city.
“Although we have had some improvements to the railway station in the last couple of years, it still doesn’t give the impression that we want to give.
“With these improvements, and if we are successful in our bid for a bus station revamp too, it will make a huge difference to these arrival points into the city centre.
“Discussions between Network Rail and city council officers are taking place and we are talking about not just a facelift for the building but for the approach to the station as well.”
Rail passenger Mike Dyer, who travelled to Gloucester from London on business, said: “It looks like it has seen better days. I have been here a couple of times on business now and I can see it is in need of a bit of help.”
Fellow passenger Nick Harwood, from Swindon, said: “It is not easy to find your way to the centre from the station because there’s not much in the way of signage.”
Detailed plans for the revamp are about to be drawn up. It comes as the city council sits tight as it waits to hear from the Government on whether a bid for money to revitalise the ailing bus station has been successful.
If the cash injection gets the go-ahead, that too could be ready in time for the sporting extravaganza next year.
Councillor Andrew Gravells, who has led a task group on how the railway station could be improved, said: “First impressions of any city are always very important. These plans will knock passengers for six when they arrive and will get their visit off to a cracking start.
“I am very keen to see the main hall signposting visitors to the key city attractions and racks full of up to date information on them, along with offers to persuade them to return.”