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.