Work to ensure step-free access at Hillside Station to begin in May
Scheme will benefit disabled passengers, and those with pushchairs and bikes
Southport MP looking forward to railway station becoming accessible
New lifts will begin to be installed at Hillside Station in Southport in May, finally giving passengers step-free access to the platforms.
Southport MP Damien Moore is delighted to see work taking place after campaigning for the scheme in Parliament.
The railway station is on the Northern Line of the Merseyrail network between Southport and Liverpool.
Lifts at Hillside will be built thanks to funding through the Department for Transport (DfT)’s Access For All Scheme with additional funding through the Combined Authority (CA) Transforming Cities Fund. The building work is expected to be completed later this year.
The upgrades will improve access for disabled passengers and those with prams and bikes.
Hillside Station is situated close to a number of local schools including Greenbank High School and Birkdale High School. It is also near golf courses including Royal Birkdale, which regularly hosts the Open Golf championship and other major tournaments - attracting visitors to Southport from all over the world.
Southport MP Damien Moore has lobbied hard in recent months for the station to become accessible for all, whilst his casework team has raised numerous concerns on behalf of local residents directly with the Department for Transport.
Earlier this year Sefton Council officially approved a planning application by Network Rail for the installation of lifts, new staircases and associated works to improve access to both station platforms at Hillside Station, on Waterloo Road in Southport.
Damien Moore successfully lobbied the Government for Hillside Station to receive funding for the scheme through the sixth round of the Depart for Transport’s £300million Access for All programme. The funding was confirmed in April last year.
Nusrat Ghani, who was Transport Minister at the time, said: “Damien Moore MP has been campaigning to make Hillside step-free so it is safer for all passengers, especially those with restricted mobility or parents with pushchairs and I’m delighted to be able to announce that their hard campaigning work has again paid off for the people of Southport.”
Since his election, the Southport MP has consistently been a champion for stations across the constituency to be accessible for all of his constituents and will be continuing with the campaign so that all residents are able to use the rail network in a safe and comfortable manner.
The station platforms at Hillside are currently only accessible via steep concrete steps on either side of the railway station.
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “Everyone living in Southport and the many visitors who come to our town should be able to access our rail network.
“I am pleased to see that work on this important scheme will now begin this May thanks to the Government’s Access For All Scheme. I would like to thank Network Rail for progressing the plans.
“For too long, Hillside Station has been inaccessible for people in wheelchairs, parents with prams or pushchairs, those who are elderly, and people with disabilities of all kinds.
“I would like to thank local people for their patience and understanding while this work takes place.”
Southport Dukes Ward Councillor, Sir Ron Watson CBE, also campaigned for the scheme.
He said: “I am delighted that all of our efforts to ensure that people with disability issues will soon be able to access Hillside Railway Station.
“As a Ward Councillor, having raised the issue particularly with our Member of Parliament, Damien Moore, I am really grateful for the significant level of support he and his caseworkers have given to the proposals.
“I know there will be some slight inconvenience as such an important project is developed but I am equally confident that all passengers using Hillside Station will fully understand what has been achieved and the support we have been able to give to this important part of our community.”
The upgrades will support the introduction of the new fleet of Merseyrail trains offering pioneering sliding step technology making Merseyrail the most accessible rail network in the country.