A GROUP of volunteers has expressed delight at learning £2m worth of improvements will be made to a railway station.
Chirk Railway Station is to receive the Welsh Government money to improve access as part of a £12m package for five stations in Wales.
The money will deliver a ramped footbridge to the station providing an accessible route to platform one (for south-bound trains) for the first time.
The project will also provide an accessible drop off point, disabled car park spaces, improved station signage and new tactile paving. Work will start in May and is expected to be completed by end of this year.
The volunteer group – Friends of Chirk Station – took on responsibility for the station a decade ago and had been waiting for confirmation of the funding and when work would begin.
Group member Christine Ashford said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear the news and wish to record our thanks to transport minister Edwina Hart, and to everyone who has lobbied long and hard for Access for All at railway stations in Wales.
“This will make a huge difference to the lives of the many passengers who use our award winning station here in Chirk.
“In April we are celebrating 10 years of the adoption of Chirk Station with Arriva Trains Wales. What a wonderful birthday present we can now share with everyone.”
Transport minister Edwina Hart said: “This scheme will greatly improve access to a number of stations and ensure more people can use the train.
“This is another significant investment by the Welsh Government to meet our objectives of delivering a modern, accessible and affordable rail system for Wales.
“Public transport is a vital way for many people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society, to access jobs and services. I want to make sure our railway stations are accessible to all and offer a comfortable experience for passengers.”
The £12m programme is funded by £7m from the Welsh Government and £5m from the Department for Transport. Network Rail will be carrying out the work.
Mark Langman, route managing director of Network Rail Wales, said: “The enhancements will help passengers cross more easily between platforms through the installation of new footbridges with ramps or lifts.
“Step-free access not only benefits disabled passengers or those with reduced mobility, but also people with children, heavy luggage or shopping.
“In most cases, the improvements will open up the stations and the rail network to users who may not have been able to access them previously.”
DELIGHTED: Christine Ashford, a member of Friends of Chirk Station, at the station.
Picture: Huw Davies