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Date set for plans to boost Herne Bay railway station disabled access

A date has been set for Herne Bay railway station to finally be made accessible for disabled commuters.

Bosses from Network Rail and Southeastern have confirmed they hope to begin the work in 2021, and that it could be completed nine months afterwards.

Jacky Woods, Louise Lavell, Layla Parson, Craig Foster and Sheila Appleton have all encountered problems at Herne Bay railway station
Jacky Woods, Louise Lavell, Layla Parson, Craig Foster and Sheila Appleton have all encountered problems at Herne Bay railway station

The government announced earlier this year the station is among 73 set to receive a share of £300m.

The cash from the Access for All programme is designed to make it easier for disabled people to use the rail network.

A spokesman for Network Rail and Southeastern said: “Our teams are continuing with the early stages of design for Herne Bay station’s accessibility improvements that were announced in April.

“As usual we are drawing up a number of potential options and will be presenting these plans to the Department for Transport early in the new year.

“Following this we will then proceed with detailed designs for the selected option through 2020.

'I have to book assistance and taxis to pick us up and take us to Whitstable. It’s so unfair' - Sheila Appleton

“We expect delivery to begin in 2021 with the station being made fully accessible later in 2021 following a construction phase that will take roughly nine months.”

Herne Bay was nominated for the funding by Southeastern, along with a number of others put forward by the rail industry.

Currently, the only way to cross the tracks at Herne Bay is through an underpass accessed by steps - meaning many disabled passengers are forced to take the train from Whitstable to travel to London.

Sheila Appleton, who has been using a wheelchair for 12 years, said: “It’s another couple of years to struggle on.

“It’s an inconvenience for everybody like me, older people who can’t manage the steps very well and young people with buggies.

Herne Bay Railway Station.Commuters complain about lack of wheel chair acces to the london bound platform..Jacky Woods,Louise Lavell,Layla Parson,Craig Foster andSheila Appleton have all encoutered problems.Picture: Paul Amos. (19448226)
Herne Bay Railway Station.Commuters complain about lack of wheel chair acces to the london bound platform..Jacky Woods,Louise Lavell,Layla Parson,Craig Foster andSheila Appleton have all encoutered problems.Picture: Paul Amos. (19448226)

“I have to book assistance and taxis to pick us up and take us to Whitstable. It’s so unfair.”

The spokesman for Network Rail and Southeastern also says work on the glass canopy at the station will resume next month, after contractors found the metal posts and woodwork needed additional work.

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