Lichfield MP joins debate over plans for region’s railways

Lichfield Trent Valley railway station. Pic: Matt Thorpe

Lichfield Trent Valley railway station. Pic: Matt Thorpe

The need for disabled access facilities at Lichfield Trent Valley and the re-opening of the line to Burton are among the subjects in a formal submission to the West Midland Region Rail Development Plan by Michael Fabricant.

The Lichfield MP has long campaigned for a number of improvements and assurances over rail services in Lichfield.

The lack of disabled access means that at present two of the three platforms at Trent Valley are currently inaccessible to wheelchair passengers – a situation the Lichfield MP has described as “a disgrace”. He added:

“Lichfield Trent Valley station continues to be a disgrace with disabled passengers unable to access platforms.  It’s great if you want to go to Crewe, but not much else – and God knows what you do if you are disabled arriving back at Lichfield Trent Valley.

“And with up to 20,000 visitors expected at the National Memorial Arboretum in just one week in the run up to Armed Forces Day, a rail service to the NMA by means of a restored railway station at Alrewas is even more necessary.”

In a letter to the Regional Rail Forum which has invited comments, Mr Fabricant has written:

“I note that under schemes for 2009-2014 there are plans for car park expansions and for station improvements at Lichfield Trent Valley Station.   I welcome this, but hope that the station improvement plans will incorporate improved facilities for disabled passengers since there is a lack of appropriate facilities at this station, with two of the three platforms inaccessible to the disabled and difficult to access for those with children and heavy luggage.  This is an improvement which must be implemented sooner rather than later in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act.

“I welcome the reopening of the Walsall to Lichfield line as a potential future scheme, but I am also keen to see the re-opening of the Lichfield to Burton line for passenger traffic, which would include a new railway station at Alrewas.   The line is already in use for freight traffic and reopening it for passengers would serve the ever increasing number of visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas and help to ease use of the A38 trunk road.”

Chris Haynes, Chairman of the West Midlands Regional Rail Forum has already said that priorities will need to be identified based on potential schemes which are “the most effective at improving the economic outputs and competitiveness of the region”.

And Mr Fabricant has vowed that his formal submission will not be the end of his campaign. He added:

“With the economy weakened, I am not optimistic about immediate changes.  But keeping up the pressure is what it is all about.” 

Recently, Mr Fabricant invited one of the newly appointed ‘Station Tsars’ to visit Lichfield.

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