Monday 16 Jan 2017
Work to improve access for all at Ham Street station in Kent gets under way
Network Rail has begun work to build a permanent footbridge with lifts at Ham Street station, near Ashford in Kent, in order to improve access for everyone who uses the station.
Passengers used to cross between platforms using a foot crossing across the railway, however this was replaced by a temporary scaffold footbridge in 2014 following repeated incidents and near misses involving young people. The new £2.8M permanent and accessible footbridge is a vital aspect of Network Rail’s strategy to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway which is fit for the 21st century.
Mike Smith, Network Rail’s route enhancement manager, said: “This is great news for passengers who use Ham Street station and also anyone who wants to cross the railway in the village. As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan we are not only making the railway safer but much more accessible too.”
The near-miss in 2014 involved a young person walking out in front of an oncoming train, before spotting the train and stopping just in time. Network Rail has been working with schools whose pupils regularly use the station ever since.
A spokesperson for Southern, which operates the station said: "Passengers using Ham Street station have been waiting for this for some time now, so this is great news. We are delighted that work has begun on what will be a massive improvement for everyone who needs to cross from one platform to another and we look forward to its completion."
The work has begun and is expected to be completed before the autumn when the accessible lifts are installed. There will be no direct access between the two station platforms until April 2017, although a full pedestrian diversion will be in place via Ashford Road during this time.
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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.