Posted by: John Brace | 31st October 2019

Merseytravel “expect” works on accessibility improvements at Birkenhead Park, Broad Green, Hillside, St Michael’s and Hunts Cross train stations to be finished by the end of “October 2021”

Merseytravel “expect” works on accessibility improvements at Birkenhead Park, Broad Green, Hillside, St Michael’s and Hunts Cross train stations to be finished by the end of “October 2021”

                                    

John Brace at Birkenhead Park Train Station (January 2008) pointing out accessibility issues

John Brace at Birkenhead Park Train Station (January 2008) pointing out accessibility issues

Above you will see a somewhat youthful photo of myself campaigning in January 2008 for improvements to Birkenhead Park Train Station (in relation to the stepped ramp that passengers have to use to and from the platforms).

These steps cause problems for wheelchair users, cyclists and mothers with pushchairs as there is no lift at this train station.

Recently the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority were awarded £ 7.5 million of Access for All funding by the Department for Transport to improve accessibility at five train stations in Merseyside (Birkenhead Park (pictured above), Broad Green, Hillside, St Michael’s and Hunts Cross).

I sent a written question to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (including the names of the five stations) asking when it expected these improvements to be finished.

The initial answer (despite the list of train stations being stated in the question) stated that the answer was about Birkenhead North (not Birkenhead Park) and Hightown (not Hillside). I queried whether the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had replied with the correct station names and a revised answer was sent with an apology for the incorrect information in the first response (which was the LCRCA getting two of the names of the train stations wrong).

The response of Cllr Liam Robinson (who is Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee and Transport Lead for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) was as follows (DfT stands for Department for Transport and TOC means train operating company):-

“Merseytravel has now entered into contracts with Northern Trains (Broad Green) and Merseyrail (Hunts Cross, St Michaels, Birkenhead Park & Hillside) to carry out the outline design development works for each of the 5 stations. This is anticipated to be completed by April 2020.

Once these outline designs are approved, and the DfT have confirmed their funding for the delivery of the access solutions proposed, we would then look forward to award the contracts for the detail design & construction with the respective TOCs in April/May 2020.

At this early stage of the project and without having completed the outline design (i.e. it has not yet been determined how each of the access solutions will work technically, and the scope of the intervention needed) it’s difficult to ascertain exactly how long the various construction phases will last. Though broadly speaking it will be approximately 12 – 18 months from confirmation of funding from the DfT for the construction through to Commissioning of the access solutions (anticipated to be lifts at all locations). Therefore based on this estimate, all works should be expected to be completed between April 2021 & October 2021.”

 

The written statement of Nusrat Ghani MP to Parliament in April 2019 announcing the 73 train stations (including the 5 above) receiving Access for All funding and further detail on the criteria used can be read by following this link.

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