Cumbria

Penrith railway station wins disabled access funding

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Wheelchair users have to be pushed across the West Coast Mainline to get to Penrith's northbound platform

An MP says he is "thrilled" government funding for improved disabled access at a Cumbrian rail station has been secured after a four-year fight.

Rory Stewart, Tory MP for Penrith and the Border, says the situation at the town station is "unacceptable".

Wheelchair users currently have to be pushed across the West Coast Mainline, waiting for permission to cross.

Now the Department for Transport has agreed funding for upgrades but it is not confirmed when work will begin.

Mr Stewart had also raised objections over the fact the platform for northbound trains can currently only be reached via two flights of stairs.

'Overdue'

Responding to the latest news, Mr Stewart said: "I am thrilled that we have, at last, been recognised by the Department for Transport to receive Access for All funding to make these hugely overdue improvements to our local station.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Penrith and Border MP Rory Stewart has led the campaign for improved facilities

"This is a win for Penrith."

As well as improved disabled access, the money will pay for a lift.

Penrith councillor John Thompson said: "Greater disability access for the northbound platform is something Penrith station has needed for many years."

Rail Minister Baroness Kramer announced earlier 42 train stations in England, Scotland and Wales will receive a share of a £100m to improve access for disabled passengers.

Penrith station is operated by Virgin Trains.

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