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Work has started at Wellingborough station to provide passengers with step-free access between the station entrance and platforms, making the railway more accessible for everyone.
The project, which is being jointly funded by Network Rail and the government’s national Access for All programme, will include the installation of a new footbridge and two new lifts, providing an accessible route from the station entrance to all three platforms for the first time and making it easier and safer for passengers to move around the station.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail route director, said: “The improvements at Wellingborough will make a big difference to passengers. Once completed, the station will be safer, easier to use and more accessible for everyone. Passengers with reduced mobility or travelling with small children or heavy luggage will reap the biggest benefits.”
The new footbridge and lifts will allow Network Rail to close the barrow crossing, which is used by passengers unable to use the existing footbridge to cross between platforms. Closing the crossing will improve safety and means the speed restriction currently in place for trains passing through Wellingborough can be removed, increasing the maximum line speed by 15mph to 80mph.
Other improvements are planned along the line as part of a Network Rail scheme to increase maximum speeds on the Midland Main Line with the potential to shorten journey times in future. Other level crossings will be closed or enhanced, track will be renewed and realigned, sets of points will be upgraded and the gradient of corners altered, with incremental improvements to maximum speeds delivered over the next three years.
Fiona Taylor continued: “Closing the barrow crossing at Wellingborough is a crucial first step in our plans to increase line speed on the busy Midland Main Line, with the potential for quicker journeys for passengers in the East Midlands in future.”
Tim Shoveller, managing director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We welcome the first stage of this important scheme which will help us to deliver improved journey times on the Midland Main Line route.
“Our aim is to ensure our passengers enjoy their journey from start to finish and that’s why we are in the process of spending more than £40 million to improve our stations and trains. The improvements at Wellingborough will complement our ongoing investment programme and will provide some much needed improvements to access at this station.”
The footbridge and lifts are scheduled for completion in the summer.