New lifts and footbridge means ‘Access for All’ at Penrith station.(Network Rail)

New lifts and footbridge means ‘Access for All’ at Penrith station

(Network Rail Image)

A £3m investment into new facilities at Penrith station means all passengers now have better, easier access to train services.

Network Rail, in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT), has installed a new lift and footbridge enabling all passengers to use the station safely and easily.

The enhancement at the station forms part of the national Access for All scheme, a programme managed by Network Rail and funded by the DfT, with the aim of improving accessibility at train stations. This includes installing lifts and ramps to make stations step-free and accessible to all passengers, including those with reduced mobility, children, heavy luggage or shopping.

The work started in March 2016 and was completed on time and on budget, meaning passengers are now are able to use the footbridge over the busy West Coast main line and new lifts on platforms 1 and 2.

Judith Holmshaw, a local rail user said:

“Penrith train station staff provide excellent friendly and outstanding customer service helping me in my wheelchair to cross the barrier crossing every day after work.

“The new lift will mean I will have greater independence at the station and not have to rely on the staff to help me access the alternative platform. It will save time both for myself and the station staff, but will make access for wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs, people with mobility problems and with luggage to have a much easier option and improved access at Penrith station.”

Rory Stewart MP said:

“The campaign to improve disabled access at Penrith station has been long, but ultimately successful; and I am absolutely thrilled that residents and travellers to and from Penrith now have the availability of new lifts and a footbridge, meaning that disabled and wheelchair users; the elderly; families with prams and pushchairs; and the many others who find it difficult to access the northbound platform, will have a much safer and easier time now.

“I would like to thank in particular local campaigners like Eden District Councillor John Thompson, and all the constituents who wrote to me to support the campaign. Heartfelt thanks are also, of course, due to Network Rail’s ‘Access for All’ team and the Department for Transport for the commitment they have shown from the very beginning, and for completing on time and on budget. Thank you.”

Chris Atkins, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said:

The Access for All project helps make using the railway even easier for millions of people who travel by train every year. The work forms part of Network Rail’s multi-billion-pound Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers across Britain.

“We have worked closely with Virgin Trains and Story, our main contractor, to ensure the scheme has been a success and completed while causing the least amount of disruption to passengers.”

Michael Byrne, Virgin Trains Station Manager at Penrith, said:

“At Virgin Trains we’re delighted that the footbridge is now complete. It’s really exciting for Penrith and will enhance the experience for all of our customers travelling to and from the station.”

Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director for TransPennine Express, said:

“This is great news for our customers at Penrith who will really benefit from this much needed investment. It is so important that all stations are accessible for all and I know that these improvements will provide a positive experience to customer’s journeys.”