An evening train journey should not end for a disabled traveller by being carried down steps to leave the station, but this has been the situation facing people at our local stations.
It is welcome news that the lifts at Cheadle Hulme Station will now be available 24 hours a day, meaning passengers of all mobility levels can enjoy step-free access to and from all platforms.
Access was previously limited to 9:45 in the evening, even though trains continue beyond that time. From now on the lifts will operate 24 hours a day, with a direct line to an operator in case of an emergency and, as a result of this campaign, this new system will be rolled out across other stations operated by Northern, benefitting thousands of disabled commuters across the region.
This follows months of campaigning and working with Northern to address the issue, including speaking in a debate in Parliament in June which focused on public transport accessibility issues, to highlight the experience faced by people with disabilities who use our stations and the inconvenience caused due to the lifts not always being accessible.
The successful trial at Cheadle Hulme will be rolled out across the network, and I’m pleased that Northern have heard my constituents’ frustrations and addressed this important accessibility issue. This simple change will give so many people that extra bit of peace of mind.
Becky Styles, Regional Community and Sustainability Manager at Northern said: “We are delighted that our customers travelling to and from Cheadle Hulme will now be able to access the lifts 24 hours a day. We are now looking to develop plans to ensure lifts at all our stations are operational while trains are in service.”