Thursday 10 Apr 2014
Easier access for passengers at Birchwood
Passengers will soon benefit from better access at Birchwood station thanks to a £2million investment to provide step free access to all platforms for the first time.
Network Rail will build a new bridge with lifts to all platforms at the station with work set to start later this spring.
The scheme is funded by a £1.193m grant from the Department for Transport's Access for All programme and £835,000 from Warrington Borough Council.
Rail minister Baroness Kramer said: “We are committed to improving access to our rail system and offering disabled people the same opportunities as the rest of the travelling public.
“Improving access and providing step-free routes will really make a difference to passengers’ journeys, opening up access to work and leisure and helping to secure the UK’s long-term economic growth.”
Ian Joslin, Network Rail area director, said: “These vital improvements to Birchwood station will make life easier for everyone to use the train, especially those with heavy luggage, reduced mobility or with small children. The new facilities will help Birchwood station handle the increasing numbers of passengers who are using it every day.”
Councillor Linda Dirir, executive board member, Warrington Borough Council, said; “The new footbridge and lifts will enable all passengers to easily catch the train from both platforms and will help to make travel by train more convenient, which is a key aim of the council’s Local Transport Plan. The council is extremely pleased to be working closely with its partners in the rail industry to deliver these improvements at Birchwood station”.
Councillor Pauline Nelson, chair of Birchwood Town Council, said: “These improvements will, I am sure, be welcomed by Birchwood residents and businesses. I would like to thank the local community for its strong support for the scheme which helped to secure Department for Transport funding. I would particularly like to thank the East Neighbourhood Board who made a generous financial contribution towards the cost of these improvements”.
Rachel Poynter, station manager for First TransPennine Express added: "We welcome the scheme from Network Rail that will provide step free access at Birchwood Station. This is great news for passengers and I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to all who use the station."
Work is set to complete in Autumn 2014. Rail services will not be affected during the project with the station remaining open to passengers throughout.
Notes to editors
Picture shows (from left): Steve Hunter, transportation manager, Warrington Borough Council; Jon Kelly, Network Rail; Councillor Brian Axcell; Dave Thompson MBE, chair of Warrington Disability Partnership; Behnam Sarani, Network Rail; Councillor Les Hoyle; Linda Dirir, executive board member, Warrington Borough Council.
Birchwood station is owned by Network Rail and managed by First Transpennine Express.
Access for All key points:
Step-free stations offer accessible routes from entrance to platform. Step-free access not only benefits disabled people or those with reduced mobility, but also people with children, heavy luggage or shopping, and the elderly.
No train services will be affected by this Access for All improvement work and the station will remain open throughout.
Lifts are automatic and give an audible tone when the doors open and close, and there are lowered handrails on footbridges.
The improvements are managed and delivered by Network Rail and funded by the Department for Transport which also selects the stations.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.