Hebden Bridge Railway Station will share in £100 million pot

Hebden Bridge Railway Station will share in a �100 million pot for improvements, one of only two stations in West Yorkshire
Hebden Bridge Railway Station will share in a �100 million pot for improvements, one of only two stations in West Yorkshire

Hebden Bridge Railway Station is one of just two in West Yorkshire which will share in a £100 million grant jackpot, the Government has revealed.

The money is being made available to the stations to improve access for disabled passengers, Rail Minister Baroness Kramer announced this week.

Hebden Bridge and Garforth station, near Leeds, will benefit from improved access into the stations and between the platforms as part of the Access for All scheme.

Previous work under the scheme has included improvements such as new ramps, lifts or tactile paving.

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.”

Local councillor, Janet Battye (Liberal Democrat, Calder) has welcomed the announcement. She said: “I’m delighted to hear that, after years of campaigning by local people including especially the Sustainable Transport group and Hebden Bridge Partnership, the government is at last making a real investment in helping people with disabilities and limited mobility. This will allow more people to make more use of our invaluable and well-used train service. It’s now down to Network Rail to get on with designing and organising the work”.

A total of 42 stations across England, Scotland and Wales will benefit from improvements as part of the funding.

Detailed designs and costing for each station will be drawn up by Network Rail in due course, and the projects will be completed by 2019.

Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations at Network Rail, said: “More and more people are travelling on our railways than ever before, so it’s important that we make taking the train as easy as possible for everyone. Better accessibility will mean a better experience for people with reduced mobility, carrying heavy luggage or travelling with children, but we’ll also be investing to improve signage and customer information for all passengers.”

Dominic Booth, the Rail Delivery Group’s lead on stations, said: “The rail industry has worked hard to improve facilities for disabled passengers which are better now than they’ve ever been with record numbers choosing to travel by train. This latest funding will mean improving even more stations all around the country to encourage disabled people to live more mobile lives.”

The stations were nominated by the rail industry and 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.

A total of £460 million has been invested in improving access to railways since 2006. In addition to the 41 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 benefited from smaller-scale improvements. The rail industry is also required to make access improvements in line with line with EU and UK standards whenever they carry out infrastructure works at stations.