Positive meeting to improve access at Ludlow Railway Station
Rail bosses met councillors and train users to hear their concerns over accessibility at Ludlow's railway station.
Passengers who travel by train to and from Ludlow have long called for work to be done at the station to improve access for people using wheelchairs, pushing prams or carrying heavy luggage.
There was hope that a lift could be installed as part of the replacement of the station bridge, so campaigners were left disheartened when this was not included in the upgrade project.
But they continued to push for action and had the chance to put their concerns to representatives from Network Rail and Transport for Wales (TfW) at a meeting at Ludlow station.
Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow North, said it was a “classic example of community power”.
He said: “Local residents raised their concerns and spent a couple of years trying to get the rail authorities interested.
“They organised this very constructive meeting and I hope we can now move to get the problems of disability access at the station resolved. Philip Dunne MP has been working hard to secure funding for this.
“We also need to sort out access to the car park at the front of the station. We need a proper pedestrian walkway and an area for taxis and buses to pull off the road.”
Denise Thompson of environmental group Ludlow 21 said: “Following a tour of the railway station, the group had a constructive meeting when various topics were discussed and current concerns about the safety and accessibility aspects of Ludlow were explored.
“This was primarily an opportunity to exchange information and it is hoped this will be the start of a productive relationship.”
TfW, which took over the Wales and Borders franchise from Arriva in October, said the company was committed to improving access as part of its £5 billion investment in the region.
Eluned Parrott, head of external affairs for TfW, said: “We are very grateful to local councillors and rail users for meeting with us and sharing their hopes for the future of rail services in Ludlow.
“As part of our £5bn programme of investment across Wales and the Borders, we are working hard to improve the accessibility of our services.
"We have established an Accessibility Panel to help us make sure that we’re making the changes that our customers need, and our team of stakeholder engagement managers are travelling across Wales and the Borders to meet local communities.
“Today’s meeting has given us a valuable insight into the views of local people in Ludlow, and we will be feeding that information back to the teams developing our fleet of new trains and station improvement plan.
"We are at the start of journey to transform rail services for Wales and the Borders, and we’re grateful to the people of Ludlow for their help.”
Sam Hadley, senior public affairs manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “I was pleased to meet with local stakeholders in Ludlow today to discuss their aspirations for the station and the surrounding area.
“We will continue to work with them, and our partners at Shropshire Council and Transport for Wales in the weeks and months ahead.”