Four railway stations across Network Rail’s Western route, which runs from Paddington to Penzance and as far north as Worcester, will benefit from a share of £300 million ‘Access for All’ funding.
St Erth in Cornwall, Theale in Berkshire, Worcester Shrub Hill and Weston-Super-Mare will benefit from the funding which aims to make travel easier for passengers with reduced mobility, as well as people with children and pushchairs, heavy luggage or shopping.
Following nominations from the rail industry, stations were selected based on a range of criteria including footfall weighted by disability in the area, value for money, and local factors such as proximity to a hospital. The stations were also chosen to represent a fair geographical spread.
The Access for All programme was first launched in 2006 and has delivered more than 200 accessible routes into selected stations nationally.
Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Western route, said: “We are passionate about improving passengers’ experience and making stations more accessible is a huge part of that, so we are delighted that four more stations in our region are to benefit.
“The Access for All programme has already delivered significant improvements at stations in our region such as Chippenham, Keynsham Exeter Central, St Austell, Goring and Streatley.
“Working together in partnership with GWR and the Department for Transport we’ll continue to do everything we can to make our stations as accessible as possible.”
Transport Accessibility Minister Nusrat Ghani, said: “Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also to enable them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across the UK.
“We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll out of upgrades across the rail network.
“Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country, helping us move closer to a transport sector that is truly accessible.”
Keith Richards, chair of the disabled persons transport advisory committee, said: “The Access for All programme has already delivered significant improvements in access to rail travel for disabled people over the last 13 years. It's crucial to continually build on that.
“The announcement is very welcome and must go hand-in-hand with clear and practical information to ensure that disabled people are aware of what improvements have been made, and that more travel options are now possible as a result.”