The new short-term improvements to Cannock's rail station and car park are being made in time for the opening of the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet at nearby Mill Green, which is due to open for business in the next few months.
More than 80 murals are being installed on the rear of the railway station platforms and the access walkways leading to and from the station's two platforms. The images, provided by local photographers Anthony Dunn and Michelle Williams, are of local scenes, landmarks and points of interest from around the district.
Meanwhile lockable poster frames will display artwork from community groups and local schools.
For cyclists using the station there will be a two-tier cycle rack that will take 10 cycles, and for peace of mind a dedicated CCTV camera will be linked back to the council's CCTV control room to monitor rack use.
Two eye-catching wayfinding monolith Totems will give directional information and display maps of the town centre, the designer outlet and the wider area for visitors arriving in the town by train.
Landscaping improvements will see a sprucing up of the station area including the planting up of existing circular planters, while 25 metres of safety handrail will be installed leading from platform 2.
All the work taking place coincides with plans by West Midlands Railway to resurface the station's car park. This will take place from Monday 11 January and will require the station car park to shut for the whole week. Station users are being advised to either park at the nearby Mill Green Nature Reserve car park next week, which has limited space, or to perhaps consider using Hednesford rail station car park.
These improvement works follow previous work by West Midlands Railways as part of the Chase Line electrification work completed in 2018. They are being funded from Section 106 monies as a condition of McArthurGlen's planning application. The work is being carried out by Cannock Chase District Council, Staffordshire County Council, West Midlands Station Alliance and Rail Industry Partners.
Cannock Chase Council's portfolio holder for economic development and planning, Councillor Tony Johnson said: "With many more people expected to use Cannock rail station in the coming years as the District grows and the designer outlet takes shape, it is important that we have an improved public transport gateway for Cannock.
"This short-term measure is part of ambitious plans to develop the overall station facilities at Cannock. A Strategic Outline Business Case produced by Atkins to radically transform the station and experience for rail users is to be discussed by our Cabinet on 28 January."
Brenda Lawrence, Head of Stations for West Midlands Railway, said: "These welcome improvements will greatly enhance the station environment and improve the travelling experience for our customers.
"Train services will continue operating as normal throughout the project and I would like to thank our passengers for their patience while we work with our partners to carry out these environmental improvements."
Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: "Cannock rail station is a key gateway to the town and these improvements will enhance both the station and surrounding areas. With greater passenger numbers expected into Cannock in the coming years and the opening of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet scheduled to open later this year, these are timely developments.
"Improving the county's transport hubs is vital for our future growth, particularly as we come out of the pandemic period. The station works follow on from the major highways improvements we completed around the Mill Green site last year, further boosting Cannock's connectivity and vitality. This is all made possible through effective working between partners."
The works are permitted as part of the current national lockdown and work will be conducted in a Covid secure manner, following all Government guidelines.