Stratford-upon-Avon is set for a major boost as contracts for a new parkway train station were signed by developers and members of Warwickshire County Council, meaning the facility will be open seven months ahead of schedule.

Officials announced that Buckingham Group Contracting has been selected as the preferred candidate to both design and construct the new station, which will help to provide direct links between the historical market town and London. Train operator London Midland has already announced its support of the scheme and has committed to weekday, evening and Saturday services with a weekday off-peak service once the station is fully operational.

The agreement between both the council and the developers means that work can begin earlier than thought, allowing the completion date to be brought forward to May 2013, with London Midland launching its full service in December 2013. Officials regard this latest deal as a key move in the progression of Stratford-upon-Avon in terms of being able to improve its infrastructure and links with other parts of the country.

It is part of the town's Local Sustainable Transport Project, which officials have predicted to be able to attract 114,000 new rails trips when the plans research their full potential in 2024/25. This latest move is designed to secure long-term financial benefits to Stratford as it is able to bring in more tourism from other parts of the UK which were previously inaccessible.

Buckingham Group was chosen after councillors were impressed by the company's competitive proposal as well as its demonstration of expertise within the rail sector, giving them confidence that it will be able to deliver a high quality service for passengers that need to use the line. 

Councillor Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for highways and transport, said: "We are pleased to be able to offer this service to Stratford and the surrounding areas, using the funding awarded to the county council from the Department for Transport last year. We look forward to working with the experienced team from Buckingham Group over the coming months and delivering a fantastic facility for rail passengers."

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