STALYBRIDGE and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds has highlighted the problems being encountered by disabled users of local rail services during a session in Parliament.
Pointing to the varying conditions of stations in the area, Mr Reynolds called on Transport Minister Norman Baker to ensure public transport remained a priority.
He highlighted how access at some railway stations was to limited one platform. And he said this meant some disabled passengers have to travel past their destination station and then come back again, just so they can get off at the right platform.
During Questions to Transport Ministers in Parliament on Thursday, Mr Reynolds said: “ . . . our local railway network in Greater Manchester is incredibly well used, but I am often struck by the poor condition of our stations, particularly the limited accessibility, as lack of step-free access at stations such as Mossley, Broadbottom and Newton for Hyde often forces people to travel further down the line than they would like simply to change platforms and come back on the other side.
“Good quality public transport should of course be available to all, so I ask the Minister to make that a priority for his Department in future.”
During the exchange Mr Baker said that in addition to planned improvements as part of franchise commitments, the Government would be funding improvements to local railway stations through the national stations improvement programme, Access for All programme and the station commercial project facility.
He highlighted work that is due to begin at Stalybridge Station in June 2013, as part of a £1.8million project.
Mr Reynolds now intends to write to Transport for Greater Manchester to see if funding can be secured to improve local railway stations.
He is particularly concerned by Mossley Railway Station – where access to and from the east-bound platform requires users to navigate 21 steps and to cross a footbridge.