The MP for Twickenham, Sir Vince Cable, and disability campaigners have called delays for access improvements at a local train station a ‘disgrace’ after a transport minister confirmed that a lift will not be installed until March 2020.
Teddington station was supposed to benefit from Access for All improvements by 2019. Since it emerged improvements would be delayed Sir Vince has called for an urgent meeting with transport minister Paul Maynard.
In the Autumn statement it was outlined that Teddington would be one of 26 stations across England to be given funding for access improvements. A total of £60m was granted as part of the access improvement plans.
It was also revealed by Catherine Smith, campaigns officer for Transport for All, that £50m worth of Network Rail access projects have already been delayed by up to five years. “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear that access improvements at Teddington Station have been delayed – this is yet another blow for Disabled and older transport users,” she told the Richmond and Twickenham Times.
Meanwhile, Sir Vince told the newspaper: “There are also accessibility issues at Hampton Wick and St Margaret’s stations – both have very steep stairs and absolutely no commitment to provide lifts until, if and when, Crossrail 2 comes which at the moment won’t be until 2030. This is unacceptable and I will raise these issues with the Minister as soon as possible”.
In its defence, a spokesperson for Network Rail, told the newspaper: “We’re fully committed to transforming Teddington station into a fully-accessible railway hub for all passengers by 2020.
“Owing to the listed status of the station building and the condition of the current footbridge, this is a complex scheme, but we’re progressing two options to make the station fully-accessible and we’ll continue to work with a range of parties to take this forward.”