Skip to main content

Railways: Access

Volume 489: debated on Friday 20 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to improve access for (a) people with disabilities, (b) the elderly and (c) young families with prams to trains and railway stations in the Greater Manchester area. (265189)

The Government have a strong record on improving the accessibility of our railways. Over 1,100 stations have already been earmarked for access improvements through our £370 million ‘Access for All’ programme and around 4,900 rail vehicles already meet modern access standards. All trains must be accessible by no later than 1 January 2020.

Specifically in the Greater Manchester area:

£1.7 million has been awarded to Greater Manchester PTE, First TransPennine Express and Northern Rail, from the Access for All Small Schemes Fund, to match fund projects with a total value of £3.9 million at over 60 stations serving the Greater Manchester area. Improvements include ramps, accessible toilets, new customer information systems and a range of other access enhancements.

Hazel Grove station has new lifts installed under the Access for All main programme, with a further five stations currently at design stage and targeted to receive an accessible, obstacle free route by 2011 (Manchester Oxford Road, Cheadle Hulme, Blackburn, Marple and Littleborough).

Virgin Trains and TransPennine Express operate fully accessible fleets of trains and Northern Rail has improved the accessibility of its fleet of rail vehicles through refurbishment.

These improvements whilst primarily aimed at improving access for disabled people, also meet the needs of other passengers including older people and those travelling with children in prams.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to improve access for (a) people with disabilities, (b) the elderly and (c) young families with prams at Cheadle Hulme Station. (265190)

Improving access for passengers with reduced mobility is a key objective of the Department for Transport and is central to the Railways for All strategy which was published in March 2006.

Cheadle Hulme has been targeted to receive an accessible, obstacle free route to platforms serving passenger trains under the main Access for All programme. Plans have now reached detailed design stage and Network Rail intends to start work on site during summer 2009, with completion expected during 2010.

In addition, Greater Manchester PTE has been awarded £50,000 from the Access for All fund for a £100,000 project to install a new public address system, customer help points and CCTV at Cheadle Hulme station.

Further funding for access enhancements will be available each year until 2015 and we would welcome further applications.