A package of improvements at Canterbury East station costing £4.8m now enables people with mobility problems to access trains without using stairs.
Network Rail has installed new lifts and a new footbridge as part of the Department for Transport’s inclusive Transport Strategy – Access for All Programme. They are just two elements in improvements to the station.
The station is in a conservation area, so the lifts, footbridge, and stair structure, have cladding in-keeping with the surrounds.
Along both platforms, tactile paving has also been laid to assist passengers with visual impairment.
In the past, trespass has been an issue at the station owing to the distance between the stairs and an access gate. To provide better safety for people who are not using trains to cross the line, a new access gate has been installed nearer the new structure.
There is enhanced accessibility for those arriving at the station, with the installation of six disabled parking bays and bike poles. Bollards have also been erected to improve station security.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Kent Route Director, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to open our latest Access for All scheme in Kent this week which will provide step-free access to those in wheelchairs, or with pushchairs or heavy luggage to be able to reach their trains.
“We want our railway to be as inclusive as possible and Access for All is opening up travel by rail to more and more people with Canterbury East just the latest station to be completed and more to come next year.”
David Wornham, Southeastern’s Passenger Services Director, said: “It’s great that Network Rail has been able to work so closely with Southeastern to deliver this project in time for welcoming passengers back to the railway after a challenging 18 months for everyone.
“Together we’re focused on making the railway more accessible to everyone, including launching an accessibility panel to improve passenger journeys, from improved customer information systems to mobile assistance at the start and end of passengers’ journeys.
“We’re committed to providing a safe and comfortable journey for everyone, and making sure the railway is as accessible as possible to all of the communities that we serve. This new footbridge and lifts will help do just that.”
Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury, said: “I very much welcome this improvement for my constituents here at Canterbury East station, it will enhance passenger experience for people with disabilities. I’d like to thank Network Rail, Southeastern and BAM Nuttall for working together over the last year who have constructed this impressive scheme, including the tactiles and other additional improvements.”