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Rail passengers in Alfreton, Kidsgrove and Market Harborough are to benefit from improved access to their stations.
The Government has announced a range of stations that will receive funding through its Access for All programme, with three of the successful stations operated by East Midlands Trains.
The Access for All programme is managed by the Department for Transport, and following successful bids from each of the train operators, a total of 42 stations across England, Scotland and Wales will benefit from £100milllion of Government funding between 2015 to 2019 to deliver improved access for passengers. The successful stations were selected for funding according to passenger numbers, the needs of the local area and proximity to facilities such as hospitals or schools for disabled children.
East Midlands Trains will now work with Network Rail, local authorities and other partners to develop and deliver final schemes to provide step-free access at each of the three stations (Alfreton, Kidsgrove and Market Harborough) by 2019.
Rail Minister Baroness Kramer said: “We are transforming our railways through record levels of investment and improving accessibility at stations is an important part of that.
“These improvements will make a real difference to the lives of disabled passengers and those with limited mobility, allowing them to get to work and pursue leisure activities more easily. That’s good news for them and good news for the economy.”
Jonny Wiseman, Route Manager for East Midlands Trains, said: “We’re extremely pleased that three of our stations have been allocated funding through Government’s Access for All Scheme. This will help to build even further on the work we have been doing over several years to improve accessibility at our stations.
“We look forward to working with Network Rail, local authorities and other partners such as the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership on the delivery of these schemes which will provide significantly improved access for passengers using these stations.”
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, added: “Stations are important gateways to the communities they serve. It is crucial we have stations which are accessible for all passengers, whether they are wheelchairs users, have reduced mobility or just carrying luggage or pushchairs, so we also welcome this announcement. We will continue to work with East Midlands Trains and our other stakeholders to improve accessibility around our network.”
The North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) played a significant role in developing the successful application for Kidsgrove station. Faye Lambert, Community Rail Officer for the NSCRP added: “We’re absolutely delighted that the strong community support at Kidsgrove has helped so much towards winning this accessibility funding. This will certainly make for a bright future for the station.”
Over recent years, the Access for All Small Schemes fund has helped to deliver improvements to 24 other East Midlands Trains’ stations. East Midlands Trains will also deliver further access improvements at Blythe Bridge, Hucknall, Ambergate, Fiskerton, Mansfield and additional waiting facilities at Kidsgrove.
A total of £460 million has been invested nationally in improving access to the UK’s railways since 2006. In addition to the 42 stations announced today, the Access For All Scheme will have delivered step free routes at more than 150 other stations by 2015, while a further 1,100 stations have already benefitted from smaller-scale improvements.
The full list of stations approved for funding are:
London and the South East
West Hampstead; Queen’s Park; Tottenham Hale; Peckham Rye; Seven Sisters; Chatham; Hither Green; Walton-on-Thames; Battersea Park; Streatham; Petts Wood; Blackhorse Road; St Mary Cray; Goldalming; Whitton; Virginia Water; Theale; Barnes.
East of England
Luton, Grays, Southend East, and Manningtree
Lichfield Trent Valley, Market Harborough, Warwick, Alfreton and Kidsgrove
Liverpool Central, Penrith and Leyland
Hamilton Central, Blairhill and Elgin
Cheltenham Spa and Weston-Super-Mare
Trefforest, Cathays, Barry Town, and Llanelli
Yorkshire and the Humber
Hebden Bridge, Garforth and Northallerton