A refurbished historic footbridge at Chester railway station has been  officially re-opened by Network Rail.

The refurbishment is the final redevelopment project to be delivered as part of a multi-million pound Chester Renaissance programme for the station and the surrounding area over the past several years.

Network Rail and train operator Arriva Trains Wales have invested around £8.5m at Chester station over the last five years, including the £900,000 spent recently on refurbishing the footbridge.

The funding has come from the Department for Transport. Other work has included a new roof, improved customer facilities and better access for disabled and elderly people.

Mark Langman, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This project marks the completion of a significant investment to enhance the facilities at Chester station and to improve the station and surrounding environment for passengers – an important gateway and shop window for the historic city.

“I’d like to thank all the stakeholders, particularly the Townscape Heritage Initiative programme and the Railway Heritage Trust, for their financial and advisory support for this project, without which it may not have happened.”

Network Rail scheme project manager, Najmun Shah said: “The footbridge has been refurbished to enhance both its appearance and make it easier to maintain. The scheme combines necessary structural repairs with contemporary glazing and surfacing materials and traditional conservation work and finishes.”

Lynne Milligan, customer services director for Arriva Trains Wales, said: “We welcome the work undertaken by Network Rail, which will build on the improvement work already undertaken at Chester station.

“The historic nature of the station means that these projects come with a great deal of responsibility, and we are grateful for the input of all the various stakeholders in terms of guiding the final look and design. We think this will further enhance an already excellent station environment.”

Work on the £900,000 refurbishment project started on site in September 2012 and was completed in May 2013. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through their Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) programme and through Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and Chester Renaissance, with further direct funding from CWaC, the Railway Heritage Trust (RHT) and Network Rail.

The footbridge is a historically important feature of Chester railway station, which was built in 1848 for the Chester and Holyhead and Shrewsbury and Chester railway companies. Its refurbishment means the station can now be entered for a National Rail Heritage Award.

Press release issued by Network Rail