RAIL chiefs are to spend more than £700,000 upgrading Burton Railway Station.
Andrew Griffiths at Burton Railway StationNetwork Rail, which maintains Britain’s rail infrastructure, said the work would include, but not be limited to, removing asbestos, ‘refreshing’ the staircase to the platform and improving the waiting room.
He said improving lighting, refurbishing toilets and providing a new toilet for the disabled would also be included, adding that the project was scheduled to start in June next year.
The spokesman said more details about the upgrade, part of the Department for Transport’s National Stations Improvement Programme, would be provided nearer the start date.
Confirmation of the revamp comes 10 months after Network Rail said Burton’s station would benefit from a £3.25 billion five-year scheme to improve thousands of stations.
It has also arrived only 24 hours after Burton MP Andrew Griffiths (pictured at the station) launched a withering attack on the station, claiming it was the ‘worst in the country’ and must be upgraded urgently to boost rail use and encourage tourism and investment.
Hours later, the Tory backbencher was backed by the 200-plus member Burton Railway Society, whose chairman, Mark Ratcliffe, said the station was in need of ‘tender, loving care’ and that he hoped Network Rail would find the money to pay for it.
Commenting on Network Rail’s pledge, Mr Griffiths said: “I think that sounds very, very encouraging but, like all things, the devil is in the detail.
“I think Burton Railway Station needs more than a lick of paint and a good clean.
“It needs some fundamental changes in order to make it a gateway to Burton you can be proud of.
“People in the town want a station they can be proud of when friends, family or business people arrive for the first time.
“I hope there will be a proper consultation over the work that’s going to be done and the improvements that are in store.
“But I’m very encouraged that despite the difficult financial situation the money is still going to be there for these vital improvements.”
Network Rail’s statement came as the train operating company at the centre of the latest row engulfing the station commented on the furore for the first time.
East Midlands Trains issued a statement after the Mail yesterday reported how the firm had told a pensioner, temporarily stranded at the station when its lift failed, to travel to the next ‘accessible’ station if it happened again — and then catch a taxi home.
A spokesman said: “We want as many people as possible to access our services and therefore provide comprehensive assistance for passengers, including alternative travel arrangements when a station is not accessible.
“Passengers who need any extra assistance can make themselves known at the time of booking or to any member of staff while travelling with us.
“Without knowing the full details of the passenger’s journey with us, we unfortunately cannot comment any further on his or her personal experience.”