A multi-million-pound project to improve accessibility for passengers at Mills Hill station in Greater Manchester has started this week.
The investment, as part of the Government’s ‘Access for All’ scheme, will see a new ramp built on the Manchester-bound platform and a new lift and staircase installed on the Rochdale-bound side.
This will help customers with reduced mobility, families with prams and those carrying heavy luggage.
Simon Smith, sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Work is now underway to make it easier for passengers to access Mills Hill station, providing step-free access to both platforms for the first time.
“We are working closely with the station operator, Northern, to ensure our work brings as little disruption as possible to neighbours and passengers.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester’s railways are an essential part of our public transport network, but far too many of our stations are inaccessible to people with reduced mobility or families with prams.
“If we are going to get more people out of their cars and onto our trains we need to make them easier to use, so I’m pleased that this work has started at Mills Hill, which will provide much needed step free access to both platforms.”
“We will continue to work closely with the government to secure the necessary funding to improve accessibility at every station across our network.”
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The improvements at Mills Hill will make our network more accessible than ever before and give more customers even more journey opportunities.
“We are working closely with colleagues at Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum and I’d like to thank our customers, in advance, for their patience and understanding whilst the work takes place.”
There will be no disruption to train services while work takes place and a temporary bridge will be built for passengers between the two platforms.
Due to the limited space at the station, temporary buildings for construction staff have to be located in the station car park. This means there will be no parking available until the end of March 2020.
Passengers and residents can contact Network Rail’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41 to find out more.
The major station upgrade is due to be finished by the end of March 2020 and has been funded by the Department of Transport’s ‘Access for All’ programme. The project was originally planned to start last year but was delayed after Network Rail chose a different contractor.
The accessibility improvements also form part of the wider Great North Rail Project – a rail industry effort to deliver better stations, track and trains across the North by 2020.