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Herne Bay railway station set for step-free disabled access thanks to government funding

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Herne Bay station is set to receive a share of £300m to improve disabled access.

The government has today announced the station is among 73 that will benefit from the Access for All programme funding - designed to make it easier for disabled people to use the rail network.

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, right, is among wheelchair users who have encountered problems accessing trains at Herne Bay railway station
Sheila Appleton, right, is among wheelchair users who have encountered problems accessing trains at Herne Bay railway station

Sheila Appleton, who has been using a wheelchair for eight years, previously said improved disabled access would help her travel more freely.

She said: "It would mean I could travel like anyone else. It would just be so easy for me to travel from Herne Bay.

“It would mean I could go to Herne Bay railway station with confidence that I would get on the train I’m booked on - I wouldn’t have to rely on other people picking me up at the right time.”

Herne Bay railway station
Herne Bay railway station

Herne Bay station was nominated for the funding by Southeastern, alongside a number of stations put forward by the rail industry.

Transport minister Nusrat Ghani added: “Everyone should be able to access our rail network and I am pleased to announce that Herne Bay will now become a fully accessible station in the next stage of the programme.

“Sir Roger has been campaigning to make Herne Bay step-free so it is safer for all passengers, especially those with restricted mobility or parents with push chairs and I’m delighted to be able to announce today that their hard campaigning work has again paid off for the people of North Thanet.”

Rail Minister Nusrat Ghani with Sir Roger Gale MP. Picture: Roger Gale (8282740)
Rail Minister Nusrat Ghani with Sir Roger Gale MP. Picture: Roger Gale (8282740)

Herne Bay MP Sir Roger Gale said: "Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also enabling them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across the UK.

"We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll out of upgrades across the rail network.

"Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country, helping us move closer to a transport sector that is truly accessible.”

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

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