Posted by: Laura Hammond
Fri 27th May 2022
Plans to install a new step-free footbridge at Alfreton station have been delayed again
Network Rail developed the plans for a new footbridge as part of Access for All, a government-funded scheme launched in 2006 to improve accessibility at stations.
Featuring two lifts, the new step-free footbridge at Alfreton station would make both platforms accessible.
At present, there is only step-free access to the ticket office and the northbound platform.
Platform 2 – for services travelling south – can only be accessed by the existing footbridge which has stairs.
East Midlands Railway, which manages Alfreton station, said passengers who are unable to use the footbridge would have to go to the nearest station for a taxi.
A spokesman for the company explained: “An example would be if someone was travelling to Alfreton from Sheffield they would alight at Chesterfield and then have a taxi waiting, if they were travelling from Alfreton to London, we would taxi them to Nottingham or Ilkeston.”
Plans to improve access to Alfreton train station were first announced by the Department for Transport in 2014.
At the time, it was said that the work would be completed in 2019.
However, work to install the footbridge is yet to get underway and has been delayed due to financial challenges.
Adding to this, is a request by the government that Network Rail reviews all of its projects.
Network Rail says the reviewed design for Alfreton’s footbridge – and the proposed cost of the project – will have to be put before an approval panel before proceeding.
The panel is expected to take place in July.
Network Rail says the next step will then be to work with the contractor to finalise the details of the design and the construction programme.
A further update on the project is expected in September.
Representatives from Network Rail met with Alfreton Town Council earlier this month and told members that they expected the work to be completed by early 2024.
Andrew Ruff, senior sponsor for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “I know that the people of Alfreton have been looking forward to having a more accessible train station for some time, and I’m sorry for how long it’s taking to deliver the project.
“While we have a design prepared, global financial pressures, including the increase in construction costs, have affected our progress.
“We are being challenged by the government to review all of our projects, including Access for All schemes, to make sure that we’re managing public money effectively and responsibly. So we’re updating the design for Alfreton station but still intend to deliver the vital accessible footbridge as soon as we’re able to.”
Councillor Scott Walker, of Alfreton Town Council, said: “It is clear that the root cause of the delays rest with central government and I urge our local MP Nigel Mills to turn his repeated broken promises into firm action with his government colleagues.”
A spokesman for Nigel Mills said the MP met with Network Rail and East Midlands Railway to discuss the project last week.
He said: “He will continue to engage with and lobby Network Rail and East Midlands Railway to ensure that this project gets completed as soon as possible.
“Nigel shares constituents frustrations regarding the length of time the project has taken and understands that this is a priority for residents of Amber Valley and the wider area who use the railway.”
Anyone travelling to Alfreton and requiring step-free access should contact East Midlands Railway on 03457 125 678 and select option 3.
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