The station is already used for over half a million journeys every year in spite of the fact that passengers have to use stairs to reach the platforms, which are built over a main road.
Now that it boasts three new lifts and a connecting footbridge, anyone who is a mobility impaired user will benefit from access improvements at the station for the first time in its 165 year history. Cyclists and passengers with lots of luggage or children in buggies will find it much easier to reach the platforms from the car park entrance to the station.
Work started eight months ago and throughout the construction phase, principal contractor C Spencer Ltd kept the station open with minimal disruption to passenger journeys.
Local MP Mark Hunter was one of the first to inspect the new facilities. He said: “It’s very impressive to see the work that has been done on the site and I am quite sure this is going to be a very popular facility.”
Network Rail route director Jo Kaye said: “This is fantastic news for everyone who uses the station but more importantly for those passengers that have been unable to travel by train because they cannot manage the stairs for whatever reason.”
Tony Perrin is the project manager for Spencer on the project. He said: “Looking back at the work we carried out at Cheadle Hulme, I have to say the logistical and technical challenges were in many ways the main highlights, because they gave everyone the chance to demonstrate the best of their capabilities. On Cheadle Hulme that was working on a live station - which means you have restricted access, and have to make sure you carry out the work with minimal disruption to the day-to-day workings of the station.
“It was also a fantastic moment to see the bridges being lifted into place - that is the moment when you can see the months of careful collaborative work between Network Rail and Northern Rail and Spencer being literally put into place.”
At the same time, it was announced that Marple station is to get similar treatment.
Work is due to start on site this winter and will take around nine months to complete. When finished, the old footbridge will have been removed and new lifts installed on both platforms, linked by a new single span footbridge.
The existing toilets will be demolished and the ticket office building will be extended to accommodate new accessible toilet facilities.
The station will have new automatic entrance doors and the area of car park adjacent to the ticket office will be resurfaced to provide designated disabled parking, with unobstructed step-free access.
Jo Kaye added: “We have completed the evaluation process for Marple and can confirm that C Spencer Ltd is the preferred bidder. It is hoped the successful partnership experienced in delivering the Cheadle Hulme access improvements will continue into the Marple scheme.”
Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail, comments: “We are delighted to work with our partners to make these fantastic improvements allowing passengers, who have previously been unable to travel by train, to use the rail network. This will really make a difference to a large number of customers at Cheadle Hulme and Marple stations.”
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