PASSENGERS catching a train at Taunton are being advised to arrive in good time if they are driving to the station.

The car park has been closed and an overflow facility provided as work starts on a multi-million pound regeneration of Taunton Station.

Great Western Railway is working with Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver the scheme in support of the town’s economic development plans.

Improvements will include a multi-storey car park, a new ticket office and entrance, and additional bike spaces.

An improved bus and taxi interchange and easier access to the town centre and Firepool will help improve the customer experience for people visiting – a number expected to double over the next decade.

The site compound is taking shape and construction work is due to begin this summer, with completion next spring.

A temporary car park has been provided beyond Kilkenny Car Park, with drivers advised to allow extra time for their journeys.

GWR head of commercial development Clare Kingswood said: "Taunton Station is a key gateway to the town and with the overall investment in the rail network – including brand new Intercity Express Trains that have already increased capacity by almost 25per cent - we are expecting passenger numbers to increase significantly over the next decade.

"We are pleased to be working with Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Heart of South West LEP to deliver the additional car park and bike spaces that Taunton has needed for some time, and it fantastic to see another phase of the work begin with the site compound going in."

Steve Hindley, chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are delighted that this major project to improve Taunton station is now getting under way, with a £4.6m contribution from our Local Growth Fund.

"This significant investment will not only transform the station environment and improve its accessibility, but also act as a catalyst for commercial and residential development in the area around the station."

Council executive member for economic development Cllr Habib Farbahi said: "The redevelopment of Taunton Station, including the provision of multi-storey car parking and public transport facilities, is an essential part of planning and investing for the future.

"The creation of a new south-facing gateway onto Firepool aligns with our own ambitions for business investment and growth, and has long been a feature of the town centre regeneration plans.

"It’s an integral part of our intention to link the station more strongly with the town centre through our proposed boulevard, giving residents and visitors a truly welcoming experience which aligns with our garden town status."

Jake Berry, Minister for Local Growth, said: "I am delighted that our £4.6m Growth Deal Investment is helping to make the regeneration of Taunton Station a reality for residents, businesses and visitors of this historic town.

"Once completed, the benefits of the development will be felt for decades to come as the area makes the most of its true potential."