Rail station disabled access campaign has MP's support

Date: Thursday 11th January 2018
Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart with access campaigners at Kirkby Stephen station
Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart with access campaigners at Kirkby Stephen station

A CAMPAIGN to improve access for disabled people at Kirkby Stephen railway station has won the backing of Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart.

He visited the station with local disability campaigners Debbie and Andy North, Upper Eden Community Plan steering group member Libby Bateman, and Glenys Lumley, director of Upper Eden CIC, to see for himself the problems around accessing the northbound platform, which involves a dangerous gravel slope down to a busy road, with no parking or safety measures for the disabled, the elderly or those with children.

Mr. Stewart, who successfully campaigned for better access at Penrith station, said: "I am committed to obtaining for Kirkby Stephen station the sorts of upgrades that we received for Penrith station, which has made a huge difference to locals, travellers and tourists.

"These are the sort of important improvements that the people of my constituency deserve. We must make this station an accessible, modern, comfortable place to spend time, and I will be contacting all relevant parties to convene a meeting to make this happen."

Mrs. Bateman said: “Kirkby Stephen station is a vital transport link for communities across the Upper Eden Valley. It is absurd that the northbound platform is inaccessible to wheelchair users and I’m pleased that Rory is helping us to tackle this issue as a matter of urgency.

"With the extension of the Yorkshire Dales national park, more and more people are visiting the area and it is not acceptable that some are excluded from travelling on the iconic Settle to Carlisle line simply because they have limited mobility.”

Mrs. North added: "It's brilliant to have Rory's support. It is unfortunate that at a station as lovely as Kirkby Stephen the path on the northbound platform is at best in very poor condition and at worst fraught with danger for wheelchair users and parents with prams."