Work to create a new ramp for disabled people and passengers with push-chairs or heavy luggage at Keynsham Train Station has finally been given the go-ahead.
The news comes after the Department for Transport announced that it has agreed to fund the work necessary to build the ramp. A total of £465,000 has now been secured to enable the building of the ramp, including a £50,000 contribution from B&NES Council. The ramp is to be built on the Bristol-bound platform, which passengers can currently only be accessed by negotiating several dozen steps.
Disabled passengers coming from Bath and London have even complained of having to travel into Bristol, change at Temple Meads, and travel back to Keynsham in order to get off on the East-bound platform where they can exit without steps. The lack of ramp has also impacted on families who have been on daytrips to the south coast and returned with luggage and pushchairs.
Local Conservative councillors Charles Gerrish and Brian Simmons have welcomed the announcement, having campaigned for the ramp alongside residents and disability groups for nearly a decade and having secured the £50,000 contribution from the council nearly four years ago.
Cllr Charles Gerrish (Cons, Keynsham North) said:
“This is excellent news for Keynsham and will benefit not just disabled residents, but all rail users who have had to negotiate the steps to the platform with luggage or a pushchair. I have recently been getting more and more train users contact me about this issue. It is something which we, and many local people, have campaigned for over many years and there have been a number of false-starts and dashed-hoped along the way. However, we are confident that this time we will see work start soon as First has assured us that the costings of the latest scheme are accurate and deliverable.”
Cllr Brian Simmons (Cons, Keynsham North) added:
“We’d like to thank all the many local people who have worked and campaigned to get this ramp built for at least the last decade, and our MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who has given his support and recently handed in a petition organised by local residents. It is difficult to overstate just how difficult it currently is for elderly and disabled residents to access the west-bound platform, and this ramp will make a huge difference. It has taken a long time, but that means it’s especially pleasing to see this ramp given the final go-ahead. We will keep residents informed when we know when work is to start and expected to be completed.”