Railway station’s push to install lift solution fails to gather steam

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An initiative to improve disabled access at a train station in Wales has failed to gather the momentum campaigners hoped when it set out months back.

Abergavenny station is yet to be installed with solutions to improve access for people with limited mobility despite persistent campaigning from local groups.

Campaigners have accused authorities of ‘passing the buck’ and a lead figure for the movement said the Abergavenny Rail Access Campaign had been ‘strangled by red tape’.

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The group had gathered pace quickly when it first began campaigning with the help of a local newspaper which exposed some of the difficulties disabled rail travellers were facing.

Key campaigner Phillip Bowyer told the Abergavenny Chronicle that more than 4,000 people have signed a petition urging authorities and train bodies to install new lifts.

He said: “It seems to me that the buck is being passed from one body, to another.

“We need someone — anyone — to look into this matter, and come up with a figure of what it will cost to solve the signalling problem, or to put up a new design.”

Councillor Tudor Thomas described the station as a ‘nightmare’ for disabled people. He said: “I was coming back from London on the train and someone in a wheelchair was effectively stranded on one side of the platform because the staff had left. She had no way of crossing the bridge.

“The station really is not fit for purpose. The Equalities Act back in 2010 was passed to ensure fair access at all public places, including train stations. At a local disability meeting I chair, this issue is the top concern at every meeting. Something needs to change.”

Sam Hadley, a representative for Network Rail, told the Abergavenny Chronicle that he has been hearing “some very positive noises from the Department for Transport”.

“It’s in a much better place than a few months ago. I know it us unacceptable, and we would really like to get it done now, but these schemes are very complex and we have to work with what funding is available.”

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