A £4.5m project has been completed – meaning that at long last, Leyland station is fully accessible to everyone.
A ceremony was held yesterday to mark the completion of the project, which gives step-free access to all platforms.
Passengers using Leyland station can now use lifts, a new footbridge and new staircases which provide easier access to trains thanks to the investment, part of the government’s Access for All scheme.
It will be a great boost for disabled folk who at one point had found the station so difficult to use that they even had to catch a train to Preston, then back to Leyland to get to the opposite platform.
The Access for All scheme is a programme managed by Network Rail and funded by the Department for Transport to improve accessibility at train stations for all passengers.
Representatives from Network Rail, contractor AMCO, Northern, Lancashire County Council and South Ribble Borough Council attended the short ceremony.
Jon Ratcliffe, senior commercial scheme sponsor at Network Rail, said: “Improving accessibility across our rail network forms an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.
“The improvements we have made to Leyland station not only benefit disabled people or those with reduced mobility, but also people with children, heavy luggage or shopping.
“We have worked closely with Northern, the Department for Transport, Lancashire County Council and South Ribble Borough Council to deliver these improvements which will benefit thousands of passengers using the station every year.”
Craig Harrop, stakeholder manager for Northern said: “It’s great to see such valuable benefits introduced for our customers who travel from Leyland. It’s another way in which we’re helping set a new standard for rail travel in the North.”
Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, said: “It is great to see the upgrades to Leyland Station.
The station is so important to commuters in South Ribble and I am very pleased to see the focus on improving accessibility and making the station friendlier to families and those with disabilities”.
Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s important to the future economic development of central Lancashire that all our transport facilities are easy for everyone to use, and this is a vital addition to the work which has taken place in recent years to improve the shelters, seating and customer information to bring Leyland station up to modern standards.”
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “As a council we have been campaigning tirelessly for a number of years to have these upgrades introduced, so today really is a momentous occasion.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Leyland Station has benefited from this cash injection and I know the changes will be warmly welcomed by our residents – especially those who use wheelchairs and have young children in prams.
“The improvements are particularly important with the potential that the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal presents – with thousands of jobs, new homes and investment opportunities being created. Having fantastic transport links is something we are proud to boast here in the borough and these new facilities will boost that even further.”
Councillor Mary Green said: “When I first stood for election on 2007, one of my priorities was to improve access at Leyland Railway Station for passengers with mobility difficulties or who had heavy luggage, as their concerns had fallen on deaf ears previously.
“After being elected, I was delighted to work with the Conservative administration at South Ribble Borough Council and our local MP to secure the funding to carry out these much-needed improvements.
“The new lifts are a very welcome addition to our local railway station. They will help many people and will encourage increased use of our railway network, which I warmly welcome.”