COMMUTERS at East Grinstead rail station have been making the most of its sparkling new building, which opened on Monday.
First to enjoy the comfortable new surroundings were those early birds using the 5.45am service to London Bridge.
The building, which includes a café, is part of Southern Rail's £2.1 million revamp of the station so it can cope with extra passengers when the Bluebell Railway extension reaches it in spring.
An extra 100 spaces are going to be added to the car park and the forecourt is to be developed.
Southern Rail senior project manager Peter Wilke said: "I am so happy we have finally finished. People were worried that the design was not in keeping with the character of the town but East Grinstead now looks like a main station; it looks fantastic and is not over the top.
"Passengers get a real sense of being greeted into the station with the lighting and the open spaces; it has become a comfortable place to be."
Mr Wilke added that all the improvements are on course to be finished by mid-February.
He said: "On the building's opening day there were people arriving to have a seat and wait in the station rather than turn up just as their train was leaving.
"It is a wonderful place to arrive and a lot more comfortable. People are really going to feel the benefits of the investment."
Despite the refurbishment, commuters on the first day were still left facing the same sort of delays as they would have in the old station building.
Among the first commuters to use the new station building was Eddie Vermeer, 47, of Herontye Drive, East Grinstead.
He said: "The station looks good but people are only really concerned about getting to the station and onto a reliable service.
A Southern spokesman said some services were disrupted on Monday morning due to overrunning engineering works in the Wandsworth Common area.