Rail users call for ‘access for all’ at busy town train station

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A COUPLE from Stowmarket have raised concerns about access to the town’s train station following calls to improve Bury St Edmunds railway station.

Robert and Patricia Moore contacted the Bury Free Press following the paper’s article two weeks ago which discussed calls to revamp Bury St Edmunds’ station. Mr and Mrs Moore believe that Stowamrket train station is more in need of changes.

Mr Moore, 81, said the station provided problems for those who needed to get to platform one.

“Bury station has lifts but not many trains. Stowmarket has far more trains because of commuter trains and the London to Norwich line, as well as Cambridge, Peterborough and Felixstowe services,” said Mr Moore.

He said his wife had problems climbing the bridge, which provides access to the platform, and argued that the alternative route to cross the track was unacceptable.

“To cross the line you have to use the bridge, 32 steps up and 32 steps down.

“What’s the alternative for the elderly, for people with injuries or for mums with pushchairs? They must go all the way around, over the level crossing and get stuck at the gates,” he said.

A spokesman from National Express East Anglia (NEEA), which leases Stowmarket station from Network Rail, said that there were currently no plans to provide passenger lifts at Stowmarket. He said that Bury station has lifts because passengers must get up from ground level to the platforms on the upper level.

“Stowmarket station has step-free access to each platform and any passengers who require help to use the footbridge or to cross from one platform to the other can request this from the station staff, or this can be booked in advance.

“Information concerning assisted travel arrangements is available from our website,” he said.

But Mr Moore believes that access to the platform should be easier. He said: “In this day and age why can’t somebody get someone to do something to provide alternative line crossing facilities?”

NEEA said the Government’s Access for All scheme aimed to improve access at train stations but said that Stowmarket station had not yet been prioritised and that funding was limited.

The Access for All scheme has recently completed installing passenger lifts at Ipswich train station.

Mr Moore also raised concerns that the Stowmarket station toilets were only situated on one platform – platform two – alongside the ticket office and station entrance, and that people on platform one needing to use the facilities were once again forced to use the footbridge.