Passengers using the cross-city line in the West Midlands are to benefit from improvements at Northfield, Selly Oak and Sutton Coldfield stations as step free access is introduced for the first time.
Network Rail is carrying out work at Northfield and Selly Oak to make them more accessible, providing a step-free route between the entrance and platforms. Work will start at the beginning of November with the installation of new lifts.
At Sutton Coldfield, the final phase of improvements is underway and due to be finished by early November. Improvements will include new lifts, a refurbished footbridge and bridge renewal.
Jo Kaye, route director for Network Rail, said:
“The cross city line is one of the busiest commuter routes in the West Midlands and the improvements we’re delivering at these stations are an important step in our plan to make rail travel easier and more accessible for all passengers.”
The completion of work at Sutton Coldfield will be marked in December with a visit to the station from Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development.
The funding for the £5m project has been provided by the government’s Access for All programme, which aims to provide better access at busier stations.
Alex Hynes, commercial director at London Midland said;
“We are pleased to be working with Network Rail to improve accessibility on the cross city route. Installing step-free access at these stations is a key part of our commitment to improving facilities for all of our customers.”
Cllr Tom Ansell, lead member for Rail and Metro at Centro, the region’s transport authority, said:
“Northfield and Selly Oak are two of our busiest suburban stops, thanks in part to the hundreds of free park and ride spaces Centro provides at the two stations.
“This further investment to improve the accessibility of those stations and at Sutton Coldfield will make it easier for anyone to go by train and that’s vitally important with demand for rail travel now running at its highest level in more than 70 years.”
Once work is complete, the majority of cross-city line stations will be step free making journeys easier for disabled passengers, parents with pushchairs and those with heavy luggage.