MAJOR improvements to two Teesside railway stations could be set to steam ahead - after council chiefs secured £650,000 of funding to get a crucial transport project back on track.

The Tees Valley Metro initiative - a light railway scheme linking Teesside to Darlington - has been hailed as one of the driving forces behind efforts to boost the local economy.

Of the overall £29m cost of the project, £5m had previously been set aside for work to enhance Redcar Central Station and improve facilities at nearby Saltburn.

But the economic slump of recent years meant only £4.9m was available by the summer of 2010 - with the remaining £24m still to be secured when the Revenue Funding Allocation process was scrapped.

However, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council's Cabinet will be told next week that the authority has now been allocated £650,000 by the Tees Valley Metro Board to allow work to be undertaken at both Redcar and Saltburn.

Under the proposals, Redcar Station would see £500,000 invested in it, with the aim of boosting passengers' experiences and providing a more attractive gateway to a town now benefitting from its biggest ever programme of regeneration.

Work would include:
A £150,000 scheme would also see Saltburn Station's platform waiting rooms upgraded, with improved technological facilities detailing rail arrivals and departures, as well as bus service information.

The Council's Cabinet meets on Tuesday, March 13, to consider the issue.

Councillor Helen McLuckie, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transportation and Planning, said: "The securing of this funding is extremely welcome in allowing us to progress part of the Tees Valley Metro project.

"If approved by Cabinet, these schemes would bring major boosts to both Redcar and Saltburn. The station improvements are also part of our wider ambitions to attract, create and grow businesses in the Borough through improved transport links.