Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The £6 million footbridge at St Neots railway station was officially opened today, putting an end to years of inconvenience for Loves Farm residents and those with mobility problems.
Representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, First Capital Connect, and Network Rail – who have worked together to bring the project to fruition over the last seven years – attended on the day for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
St Neots mayor Andrew Hansard and Councillor Barry Chapman also stopped by to take a look at the latest asset for the town, which includes lifts to all platforms as well as to the station car park and the Loves Farm housing development.
The bridge has been accessible since February 7 and all lifts are now operational.
The opportunity arose when Gallaghers, the developers of Loves Farm, applied for planning consent. This freed up £2 million in section 106 funding, but more was needed to make the plan a reality.
Keith Jipps, First Capital Connect customer service director, said: “We always talk about trying to make more of our stations accessible.
“Together with CCC, HDC, and Network Rail, we got together to find the £4 million shortfall and make this happen.
“It means that people won’t be struggling to get up and down the stairs with their luggage and now there are lifts for the elderly, people with mobility problems and parents with buggies – hopefully it will encourage them to travel here.”
Tony Raine, area manager for Network Rail, added: “It’s taken a long time and there’s been a lot of collaboration between all the affected parties.
“It’s bringing the station up to the 21st century and it’s accessible to all passengers now. We are rolling this out to other stations and down the east coast main line to bring them all into the future.”
St Neots Town Mayor Andrew Hansard added: “Apart from bringing the station up to date, it certainly does make it easier for those who are disabled.
“It’s a shame that we have lost the old Victorian station that we had, but it is much better than the old bridge, which is an eyesore. It’s going to be good for St Neots.”