Monday 16 Jan 2017
Work to improve access for all at Ham Street station in Kent gets under way
- South East
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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About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.