Taking steps to help disabled train passengers
DOZENS of railway stations across the region that are difficult for disabled passengers to access are set to be made step-free.
The West of England Combined Authority (Weca) is spending £100,000 to come up with detailed plans of what is needed.
They include Lawrence Hill station in Bristol where wheelchair users have to travel in the wrong direction because its southbound platform is accessible only by steps.
It means people with disabilities need to take a train backwards one stop to Stapleton Road where they can use a ramp to get onto trains to central Bristol.
Weca committee members approved the money for a feasibility study at 27 stations.
They also rubber-stamped more than £3.5million for the proposed Yate park and ride to build a 195space car park.
A report to the meeting said: “Improved passenger facilities and levels of accessibility at railway stations, and making them step free to enable all passengers to travel by train, is an objective within the Joint Local Transport Plan.
“A feasibility study is required to develop an understanding of the scope and cost of works needed to make all stations step-free.
“This would leave Weca well placed to make applications for potential new funding opportunities, such as through the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme, as these become available.
“Funding of £100,000 is sought to identify the requirements at all West of England stations.
“The potential for contributions from Network Rail, Great Western Railway and North Somerset Council is being pursued.”
It said the aim was to make all platforms step-free from bus stops and car parks.
The cash is on top of £548,000 awarded by the Government earlier this year, with Weca match funding, to eight stations - Freshford, Lawrence Hill, Nailsea & Backwell, Parson Street, Patchway, Severn Beach, Stapleton Road and Yate – for seating, shelters and wayfinding.
The 27 stations that will be part of the step-free feasibility study are: Avonmouth, Bath Spa, Bedminster, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Clifton Down, Filton Abbey Wood, Freshford, Keynsham, Lawrence Hill, Montpelier, Nailsea & Backwell, Oldfield Park, Parson Street, Patchway, Pilning, Redland,
Sea Mills, Severn Beach, Shirehampton, St Andrews Road, Stapleton Road, West Milton, Westonsuper-Mare, Worle, Yate and Yatton.
Meanwhile, members approved the next stage of the planned Yate park and ride after plans were submitted in September for the Badminton Road site next to South Gloucestershire Council’s offices.
Lawrence Hill station where wheelchair users have to take a train back one stop to a station where they can use a ramp to get onto trains to central Bristol