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£370M to make rail stations accessible

The government today announced a £370M package to upgrade railway stations to travel more accessible for disabled and older people and parents with pushchairs.

Forty stations will be upgraded around England and Wales, and further stations in Scotland will be announced shortly.

The scheme, 'Access for All' funds the redevelopment of station infrastructure to provide step-free access from the station entrance to platforms, in addition to a range of more accessible facilities, such as improved lighting, hearing induction loops and passenger information screens.

Rail Minister Tom Harris, today said, "More people than ever before are taking the train but for some it can be like facing an obstacle course.

"That is why we have already invested £18M under Small Schemes funding to update train stations and make catching a train as easy as possible. I'm happy to announce this latest tranche of stations to receive Access for All funding, which will make a significant improvement to people's journeys."

Network Rail will carry out feasibility studies at each station over the next 18 months to determine what changes need to be made, before they launch into the design and construction of the enhanced facilities. The upgrades are planned for completion between 2012 and 2015.

In addition, the Department will contribute £6.5m from the Small Schemes fund towards a £16.7m total investment, match-funded by train companies and local authorities, to upgrade facilities at a further 223 stations during 2008/09. This funding is set to deliver a wide range of infrastructure including more ramps and lifts, blue badge parking spaces, and improved passenger information systems. The Small Schemes programme is forecast to continue every year until 2015.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail Director of Operations and Customer Services said: "These essential new facilities will make station and platform access much easier for existing and new passengers, particularly people with disabilities, those carrying heavy luggage and parents with prams.

"Our dedicated project team will conduct feasibility studies to identify the improvements necessary to provide level access. These could include, for example, lifts or ramps to subways and footbridges."

The following stations will benefit (in alphabetical order):

Bromley South
Camden Road
Canterbury West
Elstree & Borehamwood
Gospel Oak
Hemel Hempstead
Henley in Arden
Honor Oak Park
Leighton Buzzard
New Eltham
New Malden
Orrell Park
Severn Tunnel Junction
Shirley Snow Hill
St Erth
Tilbury Town
Tottenham Hale
Walthamstow Central
West Hampstead Thameslink
Worcester Park

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