Published on: Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Last updated: Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Greater Anglia has been successful in its bids for funding to help improve access at two Suffolk rail stations.
The company has secured Access for All funding - a Government funding programme for schemes to improve station access - for Needham Market and Bury St Edmunds stations.
This means that Needham Market will finally receive an upgrade to improve access to the Ipswich-bound platform 2 at the station after a long campaign locally.
The application was part of a coordinated partnership approach between Greater Anglia, Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and the Needham Market Group.
At Bury St Edmunds, the funding means that a new accessible entrance can be built on the north side of the station, linking the newly-built car park with the station concourse. This bid was supported by West Suffolk Council, Bury St Edmunds Town Trust and other local organisations.
Simone Bailey, Greater Anglia's Asset Management Director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that our proactive funding bids for Bury St Edmunds and Needham Market stations have been successful, enabling us to make rail travel more accessible at these stations.
“We are very grateful to our partner organisations who worked with us to get this fantastic result for stations in Suffolk.
“Along with the enhanced accessibility features of our new fleet of trains, this funding means that we are really starting to transform rail travel for people with disabilities and other accessibility needs, making it much easier for them to travel.”
Greater Anglia was also successful in gaining funding for a new lift at Colchester station in Essex.
The company is committed to improving accessibility across it network with a number of initiatives, including pioneering accessibility awareness training courses – all delivered by professional disabled trainers in order to improve customer service for disabled passengers.
The company has commissioned a team of Accessibility and Inclusion trainers to deliver regular sessions over the next two years to ensure its 2,500 strong workforce feels empowered to help improve the journeys of people with accessibility needs.
This makes Greater Anglia the first operator in the country to implement accessibility courses that meet the rail regulator’s new standards, ahead of new rules that come in in 2021 requiring all train operators to undertake such training.