RAIL travellers arriving at Taunton Station will get a better first impression of the town under planned multi-million pound improvement proposals.

Great Western Railway has plans to improve the experience for increased numbers of train passenger predicted to head to Taunton.

They include a multi-storey car park; new ticket office and entrance; more bike spaces; improved bus/taxi exchange; and a boulevard to the town centre.

People can see the plans at an exhibition at Great Western House tomorrow (Friday) from 11am to 4pm.

Plans for nearby Great Western House, a former hotel being converted by the YMCA to support young people into work, and Taunton Deane Borough Council’s garden town vision will also be on display.

GWR regional development manager Matthew Barnes said: “We’re proud to be working with Taunton Deane Borough Council and the Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver the additional car park and bike spaces Taunton has needed for some time.

“We want the station to be a key part of Taunton’s regeneration.

“As more of our new long distance trains come into service, we want a station that can cope with the extra demand.”

The work is vital to upgrading Taunton, with connections to shops, homes and leisure developments proposed at Firepool and Coal Orchard, providing easier access to the centre.

Switching the main entrance from the north of the station will avoid passengers walking below the unsightly bridge.

Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow said: “With passenger traffic through the station to double within 10 years this upgrade is crucial and I’m delighted work will be underway shortly.

“The development plays an important part in the regeneration of Firepool and the town centre.”

TDBC leader Cllr John Williams said: “The redevelopment of Taunton Station aligns with our ambitions for growth as the first garden town in the South West.

“It’s long been a feature of our town centre regeneration plans and is an integral part of our intention to link the station to the town centre with upgraded and enhanced pedestrian access along the River Tone through Firepool and Coal Orchard.

“The provision of multi-storey car parking and public transport facilities is essential for development in planning and investing for the future.”

YMCA’s Dave Jackson said: “Not only do we get to change the lives of young people by providing opportunities for employment and training, but we’re looking forward to working with GWR to provide a gateway to Taunton the town can be proud of.”