New lifts will be installed at five Liverpool City Region rail stations giving passengers step free access to platforms as the Combined Authority (CA) confirms £9.8m from its Transforming Cities Fund will be invested into the schemes.
With millions of pounds also secured by the CA from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Access for all Scheme, the upgrades will improve access for disabled passengers and those with prams and bikes as part of a wider vision to make the City Region rail network the most accessible in the country.
Merseyrail will be leading on four of the schemes starting at Hunts Cross station in May 2021 with the lifts completed by February 2022.
Similar works at Birkenhead Park, Hillside and St Michaels will begin in May 2021, and complete in December 2021, and January 2022 respectively.
Northern is leading on the upgrades at Broad Green station and more details will be available later in the year.
This funding represents a further commitment to increasing the accessibility of the local rail network, with lift installations at Formby, Birkenhead North, Orrell Park and Meols now complete, and £8m worth of improvement works at Prescot station well underway.
These upgrades will also support the introduction of the new fleet of Merseyrail trains offering pioneering sliding step technology making Merseyrail the most accessible rail network in the country.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:
“Devolution offers us the opportunity to do things differently. Since I was elected, I’ve been working hard to improve local transport. I want our region to have a London-style transport system that is quick, simple, affordable and accessible to all.
“We’re investing nearly £10m to deliver step-free access at a number of local stations. When it’s finished, it’ll make things so much easier for people and drive us toward my ambition to make our transport network the most accessible and inclusive in the country.”
Andy Heath, Managing Director for Merseyrail, said:
“This next wave of accessibility works reflect our commitment to meeting the needs of our passengers with mobility requirements.
“By installing new lifts at four stations across the network, this will improve the travel experience for many passengers across the Liverpool City Region – not just those with mobility needs but also anyone travelling with prams, luggage or any other large items.
“Hopefully the completion of these works will encourage more people to use the train and reduce their carbon footprint, helping us to achieve a cleaner, greener Merseyrail.”
Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said:
“Providing an accessible railway is a vitally important for Northern and we have made significant improvements across our network to help those with mobility needs. This includes a new mobility scooter scheme, enhancements at stations and improved lift provision.”
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this project including our partner Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.”