Work has this week got under way to significantly boost disabled access at Billingham railway station.
The station’s existing footbridge is approaching the end of its life and it is now being replaced with a new one served by lifts to make is step-free and suitable for wheelchair users. A second phase of work will involve car park and access route improvements to make the station better for all of the station’s users.
Billingham is the only regularly served station in the North East with no access for passengers with mobility problems to any of its platforms. Currently, from the car park and drop off point, access onto platforms 1 and 2 is only available via a stepped footbridge.
The £3.59million project is being backed by £1million of funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. It will be delivered by Network Rail, which is also contributing £1.39million to the plans, with a further £1million funding coming from Department for Transport’s Access For All fund and £200,000 from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. Work on the station is due to be complete in the spring.
Just days ago it was also announced that plans had been submitted to bring Hartlepool railway station’s second platform back into use, as the first images for the project were revealed.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’re transforming the biggest stations across the region but we can’t lose sight of smaller ones like this, which provides a vital lifeline for many people in the surrounding area, linking them to Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Eaglescliffe.
“For years it’s been a huge sticking point for people with mobility problems, but we’re now righting this wrong by providing lifts and improvements to make the station better for those in wheelchairs and, in fact, everyone who
“We secured £310million to boost transport links of all types in every corner of the region and this project shows how we’re putting that money to good use now to improve the lives of people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”