Rail users in Ipswich will benefit from easier access and better journeys following the official opening today of the new footbridge and lifts at Ipswich station. The new additions mean there is now step-free access between the station entrance and all four platforms for the very first time.
Local MPs Ben Gummer and Therese Coffey joined representatives from Network Rail and National Express East Anglia to open the footbridge and lifts, which were funded by the Department for Transport’s ‘Access for All’ scheme.
The new, second footbridge at Ipswich will help relieve congestion at busy times, while the lifts – which have been fitted with CCTV and telephone links – will provide easy access for people with reduced mobility, pushchairs or heavy luggage. New lighting and CCTV systems have also been installed and tactile paving laid on the platforms.
Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, said: “I’m delighted to be here today to open the new footbridge and lifts. As a regular user of the station, I know these improvements will make a big difference for everyone, including those less physically able. This is a small first step of a much bigger investment package that is needed on this line, for which I’ll be fighting now and in years to come.”
Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “At last, those living in rorth east Suffolk who have movement difficulties or heavy luggage will no longer have to cross the tracks in order to switch trains. The lift will be welcomed by many users of Ipswich and the East Suffolk line.”
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “We want to encourage more people to travel by train and one way we can do this is to ensure everyone can access the railways – that is why we have contributed £2.9m from our Access for All initiative to this work in Ipswich. In total we are committed to spending £370m on upgrading stations across Britain for people with reduced mobility.”
Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “Britain relies on rail so it’s vital that we provide facilities which make the railway easier to use, safer and more accessible for everyone. Whether you’re lugging heavy bags, have small children in tow or simply find the stairs a bit of a struggle, the improvements we’ve delivered at Ipswich will make a real difference to passengers.”
Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia, said: “We have been delighted to work with our colleagues at Network Rail on this much sought after improvement at Ipswich station, and I am grateful to our customers for their patience during the construction works. The new footbridge and passenger lifts will greatly improve customer access at one of our busiest regional stations.”