The Department for Transport (DfT) has today announced that 39 stations which will receive funding for major improvements, including lift installation.
The stations are:
Acocks Green, Aldershot, Alton, Barry Island, Bearsted, Bexleyheath, Birchwood, Blackhorse Road, Chirk, Crayford, Crystal Palace, Edmonton Green, Ewell East, Hackbridge, Hampstead Heath, Kensal Rise, Keynsham, Llandaf, London Paddington, Machynlleth, Nailsea and Blackwell, Paddock Wood, Queen’s Road Peckham, Radyr, Redhill, Richmond, St. Austell, St. Neots, South Tottenham, Stratford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stevenage, Swindon, Theale, Wakefield Westgate, Wendover, West Hampstead, Wokingham and Ystrad Mynach stations.
Improvements will also include the installation of accessible toilets; tactile edging installation; ramp installation and some ‘platform humps’ which reduce the step between platform and train.
The full list of stations allocated funding and planned improvements can be seen here.
Due to the large number of strong bids, the Department for Transport increased the funding available to improve stations access. Initially, the Access for All programme had been worh £17m, but it was increased to £37.5m. Transport for All applaud this recognition of the importance equal access to transport for older and disabled people.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said:
“Rail journeys don’t start and end at the carriage door. For many people – whether they are elderly, disabled or parents with prams – getting from the station entrance and on to the train can be the hardest part of their trip.
“Despite the need to reduce the deficit, we are committed to improving access to stations across the country as this can make a huge difference to people’s lives. In recognition of this, and of the large number of high quality bids we received for this funding, we are today announcing projects worth more than double the £17m budget we originally allocated to this programme.“
“We are also adding £2m a year to the current £5m allocated each year to train operating companies which will be used to fund more minor works and releasing £57m of funding earlier than planned to Network Rail so that they can accelerate the delivery of the main Access for All programme.”
The improvements will be transformative for disabled and older people living around the area; and their ability to get to work, to see friends and family, and to enjoy the freedom and independence to travel.
Disabled and older people who have campaigned for improvements to their local station are jubilant: in recent months, Transport for All has supported campaigns both in Crystal Palace and Hampstead Heath.
50% of disabled people do not see their freinds and family as often as they would like because of inaccessible transport and 48% said inaccessible transport had restricted their choice of job, rising to 62% of wheelchair users and 86% of people with a visual impairment (“Mind the Gap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, 2003).