Transport & Infrastructure | Published on: 1st November 2023
A major project to transform access at Billingham railway station for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues is now complete – with new lifts fully operational.
Billingham was the only regularly served station in the North East with no access for passengers with mobility problems to any of its platforms as access from the car park to platforms 1 and 2 was only available via a stepped footbridge.
A £3.59million upgrade has seen the existing pedestrian footbridge, which was approaching the end of its life, replaced by a new one served by lifts.
The changes will make it easier for passengers with limited mobility, heavy luggage, bikes or pushchairs to reap the benefits of Billingham’s strong rail connections.
A series of car park and access route improvements have also been competed as part of biggest revamp of the station since it opened in 1966.
This is the first upgrade to the region’s railway stations to be completed, alongside a £150million redevelopment of Darlington Station, a £34million upgrade to Middlesbrough station and a £12million scheme to bring Hartlepool’s second platform back into use – all of which are under way.
The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority previously pledged £1million to the Billingham project, delivered by Network Rail – which has also contributed £1.39million to the plans.
A further £1million funding came from Department for Transport’s Access For All fund and £200,000 from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Billingham’s upgrade has been a long time coming and a huge sticking point for local people. The station is a vital and much used hub for the local community and that’s why we pledged the cash to kick-start the project.
“Everyone deserves access to good-quality transport options and so I’m delighted Billingham can now be used by everyone, alongside general upgrades to improve the experience.
“This is the first of our improvements for Billingham, after I announced £6million funding to further enhance the town last year. It’s also the first of our station upgrades to be fully complete, giving everyone across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool the transport network they’ve been crying out for.”
Councillor Clare Gamble, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “These upgrades are a fantastic addition to Billingham Station. We have highlighted for a number of years that it was unacceptable for the station to have no disabled access, which is why we’ve worked hard with all of our partners to bring this scheme to fruition.
“It’s great to see the work completed so residents with reduced mobility and those with pushchairs and prams can access another avenue of public transport for work and leisure.
“And of course, the overall experience for passengers will be so much better too.”
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