Improvements to accessibility at Billingham railway station is set to go ahead after a £1m contribution from Tees Valley was signed off by Mayor Ben Houchen.
Passengers with mobility issues can only access platforms 1 and 2 via a stepped footbridge at the moment. This makes Billingham the only station in the North East regularly served by trains which has no access for passengers with reduced mobility.
As part of the £3.59m project, the existing footbridge will be replaced by a new one complete with lifts, and will allow step-free access for wheelchair users.
In addition, improvements to the car park and access routes will be made.
Work is expected to start in March 2022 and be completed by November.
Funding for the project has also come from Network Rail, who are contributing £1.39million, £1million in funding coming from Department for Transport’s Access For All fund and also £200,000 from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
Mayor Houchen, said: “I’m delighted we can move these plans a step closer to reality to make it easier for local people, especially those with mobility issues that find it difficult or impossible to use stairs.
“The station is a vital lifeline for many people in the surrounding area, connecting them with Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and the wider North East but for too long has been inaccessible to many. This funding will allow us to install new lifts and improve access points to make sure no one is being left behind and make the station a real option for people like wheelchair users.
“This is just the latest in a long list of station improvements right across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that we’re helping to drive forward. These include a £22.5million investment in Middlesbrough station to get it ready for London services in just a few short months, to the complete transformation of Darlington station to give everyone here the fast, reliable and accessible transport links they deserve.”
Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North and East route, said: “I’m really pleased this eagerly anticipated and much needed project to improve accessibility at Billingham is now ready to be delivered. We’re delighted to be contributing towards the funding of the footbridge alongside our partners in both central and local government and will continue to support the aspirations of Mayor Houchen and other railway stakeholders as we work together to keep improving the railway for existing and future passengers in the Tees Valley.”
Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Billingham station is the only railway station in the Tees Valley with no disabled access. For a long time, we’ve thought this was just unacceptable and that’s why in recent years we’ve been working hard to bring this scheme to fruition and make sure that wheelchair users and those with pushchairs and prams can access the public transport they need for work, leisure and to visit friends and family.”
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