West Midlands transport bosses have welcomed the start of works for the £3.9 million upgrades to Stechford Railway Station.
Work to upgrade the station, including the installation of lifts for the first time, is under way and due to be completed by the end of the year.
The investment has come directly from the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme, which was launched in 2006 to improve accessibility at railway stations nationwide, and the work is being carried out by Network Rail.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Stechford’s commuters currently have to negotiate more than 90 steps to get to the platform which is no easy task for those with a pushchair, wheelchair or walking stick. So this investment is most welcome and will make rail travel more accessible and easier.
“I met community volunteers at Stechford station recently, they have campaigned hard for these improvements over many years and their efforts have been rewarded. It is great news for them.”
In January the Mayor visited Stechford Railway Station where he met the community rail volunteers (pictured) to thank them for their efforts.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, chair of the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council said: “The installation of new lifts will come as a great relief to the many people who use Stechford Station.
“This kind of investment and improvement to our stations is vital to attract more people to use public transport in future.”
The £3.9m upgrade to make the station accessible for everyone will be complete for West Midlands Railway passengers by the end of 2019.
A temporary footbridge will soon be built on site to minimise disruption to passengers while the work continues.
The station, located on the West Coast Mainline and on the line between Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International, has regular direct services to and from London every day.
Work underway at Stechford Station
It forms part of Network Rail’s five-year, multi-billion-pound Railway Upgrade Plan, which is the biggest investment in the railway since Victorian times.
Harpreet Singh Moore, Network Rail scheme project manager, said: “The accessibility improvements at Stechford station form part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. Network Rail will unlock the railway network for many people in and around Stechford, allowing them easy access to travel that was previously not possible.
“We are working closely with the station operator, West Midlands Trains, to ensure our work brings as little disruption as possible to neighbours and passengers.”
Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “We are committed to creating a transport network that is accessible for everyone, which is why it is great to see another station benefitting from our Access for All programme.
“So far we have provided step free, accessible routes at more than 200 stations, and we have committed a further £300m to extend the programme until at least 2024.”
Richard Brooks, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said: “Improving accessibility at Stechford is a key part of our plans for local rail users as we continue to respond to the popularity of rail travel across the West Midlands.
“As part of our £1bn investment into our network, the station will see new trains operating to and from the capital from 2021. This will significantly increase capacity on trains on the line.
“Everyone is welcome to travel with us and we are constantly looking at ways to make it easier and simpler for passengers to use our services.”