Disabled access improvements confirmed for West Berkshire train station


Theale Station in West Berkshire has been selected for the next round of government funding to improve its disabled access.

The train station currently has no facilities for disabled travellers but is set to receive a revamp through the of Access for All funding programme.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma confirmed there is no need to bid again as the station will receive financial backing, according to the Reading Chronicle.

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It has not been confirmed when the renovations will be carried out as of yet.

However, Mr Sharma has revealed that he is also backing another bid from Great Western Railway for similar improvements at Tilehurst Station.

At the moment, the lack of facilities at both the stations means disabled passengers are advised to travel to the main station in Reading, Berkshire.

The Reading Chronicle reported that Mr Sharma said: “I am pleased that funding for the next stage of improvements at Theale Station has been secured and I very much hope the bid for money for improvements at Tilehurst Station will also be successful.

“I have raised the issue of lift access to platforms at Tilehurst, and other local stations, with the Department of Transport (DfT) at ministerial level as well as with Network Rail and First Great Western.

“I am therefore pleased that the DfT has announced a £300m fund to extend the Access for All programme.”

The improvements are finally coming after it was revealed they had been delayed in March 2017.

Nusrat Ghani, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT, wrote to Mr Sharma explaining the process of whether or not Tilehurst would qualify for funding.

She said: “This year, we received nominations for over 300 stations, including Tilehurst Station.

“As in previous tranches, nominated stations will be selected based on their annual footfall, weighted by their incidence of disability in the area.

“We will also take into account local factors such as proximity to a hospital or the availability of third-party funding for the project.

“We will also ensure that there is a fair geographical spread of projects across the country. I plan to announce successful stations in April 2019.”

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Carly Hacon

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