Work on step-free access at Chatham railway station in Kent has begun as part of a £5.8 m project of improvements at the station.
Part of the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme, the project will include a new footbridge and the installation of two lifts providing an accessible route to the platforms.
The station is on the Chatham Main Line, 34 miles from London Victoria.
There is a plaque in the waiting room at the station which commemorates Asquith Xavier, a local resident. He became the first non-white train guard at Euston railway station in 1966, ending a colour bar at British Railways in London.
As part of the project, new CCTV cameras and speakers will be installed. To assist visually impaired passengers, new tactile paving will be installed on the platforms.
The existing footbridge was removed earlier this month, and work on the new bridge and lift shafts has already begun. It is expected that the project will be completed by Spring 2022.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It is fantastic that the major upgrades for Chatham Station will deliver a step free, accessible route at the station. As we build back fairer, it is crucial that our network is inclusive for all users.”
Fiona Taylor, Kent route director for Network Rail, said: “Work is now underway to make it easier for passengers to access Chatham station, providing step-free access to both platforms and give passengers even more journey opportunities. We are working closely with contractors to keep disruption to a minimum and I’d like to thank passengers in advance, for their patience and understanding whilst the work takes place.”
Amanjeet Malait, station manager at Chatham for Southeastern, said: “We’re always wanting to do more for our passengers and so when this work is completed by Network Rail it will make an enormous difference to the way people use Chatham Station – making it fully accessible for the first time ever. The work will benefit everyone who uses this busy station, including our passengers who use wheelchairs, parents with pushchairs, those who have more difficulty with steps and people with heavy luggage.”
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