Work is underway to install new lifts and a footbridge at Kidsgrove station, Staffordshire, to ensure it is accessible for everyone by spring 2019.
Network Rail has started work on the £5m Kidsgrove ‘Access for All’ upgrade, which aims to improve the railways for people with mobility needs.
The upgrade will install three new lifts at either side of the platforms as well as a brand new footbridge linking the platforms.
The investment has come directly from the Department for Transport’s ‘Access for All’ programme, which was launched in 2006 to improve accessibility at railway stations nationwide.
The programme forms part of Network Rail’s five-year, multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, which is the biggest investment in the railway since the Victorian era.
The station, which sits on the Derby to Crewe line, is widely used by commuters to Stoke-On-Trent, however there are also services to Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston, making it a hub for longer distance commuters and leisure passengers.
Transport accessibility minister, Nusrat Ghani, said: “The new footbridge and lifts at Kidsgrove will allow disabled passengers to access the station independently and with confidence.
“It’s vital that we remove barriers to travel faced by disabled people across the network. We know we are making good progress towards this goal, as 75% of passenger journeys are now via stations with step-free access.
“However, there is more to do, which is why we announced up to £300m as part of the Inclusive Transport Strategy to extend the ‘Access for All’ programme. This will allow more stations like Kidsgrove to develop new accessible features that makes rail accessible to everyone.”
Luke Jones, Network Rail scheme project manager, said: “This upgrade will unlock the railway network for many people in Kidsgrove, allowing them easy access to travel that was previously not possible.
“We are working closely with the station operator, East Midland Trains, to ensure our work brings as little disruption as possible to passengers at the station, which will only be until late spring 2019.”
Lawrence Bowman, commercial director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We are working closely with Network Rail to improve access across Kidsgrove station. Upgrade works include a new footbridge, lifts and a car park that all ensure easier access for all passengers across the Kidsgrove community.”