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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

AM demands answers over rail bridge

Network Rail has been urged to ‘get a move on’ and open a completed footbridge funded by the Welsh Government at Chirk Station.

Assembly Member Ken Skates (pictured) has demanded answers as to why the bridge – part of a £2m project to improve access – is still closed to the public.

Mr Skates, Welsh Labour AM for Clwyd South, wrote to Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne way back in June to ask what was going on, and was told the delay was because CCTV cameras needed to be in place. 

Mr Skates said: “The company said it was ‘working hard with Arriva Trains Wales to achieve this more quickly’, but no timescale has been given.

"It’s hardly surprising that people are getting fed up with waiting – this is taking far too long.

“The Welsh Labour Government has invested £2m in Chirk Station and local residents and commuters still aren’t able to utilise the improvements we’ve paid for.”

The funding was part of a project which saw £12m injected into five stations across Wales.

At Chirk, the money has delivered a ramped footbridge, providing access for disabled people on platform one (trains travelling northbound) for the first time. The work also includes creating an accessible drop-off point, disabled car park spaces and improved signage. 

Mr Skates said: “After I wrote to Network Rail over problems with the station’s car park – which was only half-open – it was quickly resolved. I would urge the company to get a move on and show the same efficiency with this matter.”

He added: “This is an excellent project and I’m delighted that the Welsh Labour Government has been able to reward those who have campaigned hard for investment and improved access, such as the brilliant Friends of Chirk Station. It’s a shame we can’t see the results.”

Businessman Graham Greasley, who runs Gateway Heritage Tours, said he recently had to help an elderly lady and her grandson haul three huge cases up the station steps to the car park because there was no alternative.

Graham said: “They had come up from South Wales and were traveling around the UK for several weeks. She commented that it was very poor, and I had to agree.

“Here we are in the peak holiday season, with lots of visitors arriving and the bridge and ramp is still not open. And what about disabled access to the Chester platform?

“It's absolutely disgusting it’s still closed – Network Rail should get sorted.”

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