Virgin promises to improve "unwelcoming" station platforms

Virgin Trains has promised to improve the state of Platforms One and Two at Preston station.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 10th May 2019, 9:54 am
Updated Friday, 10th May 2019, 10:54 am
The seats taped up at Preston station's Platforms One and Two
The seats taped up at Preston station's Platforms One and Two

The company was responding to criticism from Blackpool-based Rail Sector Champion for the Minister for Disabled People, Stephen Brookes who said the unusable seating was unfair on passengers and give a bad impression for anyone travelling to the Fylde coast.

As well as the platforms being difficult to access for disabled people, he said two seats have been taped off for weeks while two others were unusable when it rained due to leaks.

He said the platforms were “tired, unwelcoming dirty and difficult to access and in fact give a disgraceful impression for anyone travelling to Blackpool.”

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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden

His views were supported by Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden who has written to Victoria Whitehouse at Virgin trains to complain.

The MP said: “As someone who uses the station week by week coming from London and Westminster and back from Blackpool I have observed the same problems left undealt with for at least two to three weeks, with just ugly gaffer tape on the broken seats and, last time I looked, just a hand scrawled note.

“Both for residents and commuters on the Preston to Blackpool North line and with another bank holiday at the end of the month hopefully bringing a large number of visitors and the summer season starting, what sort of message does that send out?

“I appreciate that Preston is a 19th century station with big areas to keep in order and difficult logistics to deal with.

“But the fact is that these problems along with those of access for people with mobility problems and other disabilities have been neglected and ignored for years.”

A spokesman for Virgin Trains today said: “We have plans for improved seating at Preston in the next few months, which includes Platforms one and two.”