New footbridge and lifts for East Grinstead station: £4.6m investment to improve accessibility
East Grinstead is one of two Sussex railway stations to benefit from step-free access for the first time, thanks to an investment of more than £9 million.
Network Rail started upgrading both East Grinstead and Crowborough stations with a new footbridge and lifts on Monday (November 1).
Blind and partially-sighted Southern Rail passengers will benefit from new tactile paving close to the platform edges and new CCTV cameras will be installed too.
“We are committed to improving access for passengers and this vital work will make it much easier for people to move around Crowborough and East Grinstead stations,” said Katie Frost, Sussex route director for Network Rail.
She said stations are ‘important gateways’ to their communities and that the footbridges and lifts would improve connections within them.
“Crucially we now have two stations that are more accessible for all passengers, whether they are wheelchairs users, have reduced mobility or just carrying luggage or pushchairs,” said Katie.
She added that Network Rail has been working with local stakeholders and accessibility groups to find the best options for passengers.
They will try to minimise disruption as much as possible during the project and the work will be complete in August 2022.
Engineers are set to build foundations on the platforms with the new lift shafts and footbridges being created off-site.
They will then be lifted into position by crane during planned line closures.
Once each footbridge has been finished, engineers aim to dismantle and remove the existing station footbridges.
Network Rail is managing and delivering station accessibility enhancements as part of the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme.
About £4.6m was invested in East Grinstead station while Crowborough station received £4.7m.
“We’re on a journey of improvement to create a more accessible and inclusive railway, where everyone has the confidence to travel with us, no matter what their disability or need for assistance,” said Anita Scaife, Southern’s area station manager.
“Step-free access to the platforms at Crowborough and East Grinstead will transform the experience of travelling by rail for many local people,” she added.