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'Not good enough’ – disappointed campaigners vow to fight on for lifts at Pokesdown Railway Station
TRAIN bosses have said Pokesdown Railway Station receives too few passengers to get new lifts.
South West Trains – Network Rail Alliance said the station, which is only accessible via 42 steps from road level, ranks in the lowest third of stations on its network in terms of “passenger volumes”.
Therefore, the company claims, it is not a priority for accessibility improvements under the government’s 2015-2019 Access for All scheme.
A spokesman said: “Most of the rail network was built many generations ago when the needs of disabled passengers were regrettably not taken into account.
“We are working hard to put that right, however resources are finite and we have a duty to focus first on schemes that will help the most passengers and also deliver the best value for money to the taxpayer.
“Pokesdown is in the lowest third of stations on our network in terms of passenger volumes and the case for investment in improvements at other locations is greater.”
The company currently offers a free taxi service for passengers with reduced mobility, booked through its passenger assistance helpline, between Pokesdown, Bournemouth and Christchurch stations.
Last week Transport Minister Stephen Hammond agreed to visit Pokesdown in the near future and meet Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood and campaigners calling for working lifts to be installed there for the first time in 30 years.
Responding to the rail firm, Pokesdown Community Forum secretary Andy Jones said: “This is extremely disappointing to hear but not surprising, they have talked a lot about what they are doing at other locations but not Pokesdown.
“We don’t think this is good enough and we will continue to fight it.”
A petition set up by the forum last month now has more than 1,150 signatures, and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood – who is backing the campaign – plans to present it to the Secretary of State in parliament.
To sign the petition visit change.org/en-GB/petitions/south-west-trains-network-rail-make-pokesdown-station-accessible
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