John Spellar, Minister at the Department of Transport, has written to
Michael Fabricant concerning upgrades of Lichfield City and Lichfield Trent
Valley railway stations. Michael had expressed his concern to the minister
when Railtrack told him that expected upgrades were postponed indefinitely.
Michael told the Minister that it is impossible for wheel chair bound people
to reach the ‘to London’ platform at Lichfield Trent Valley from the car
park (unless they are carried) and that waiting and toilet facilities at
both stations are "appalling".
John Spellar’s letter follows below.
Michael Fabricant now says: "This is better news than before though the
minister’s use of the phrase ‘I understand’ suggests that he is distancing
himself from a firm commitment! Nevertheless, this has to be better news
than that contained in the letter to me from Railtrack back in November
which stated that all work on both Lichfield railway stations was postponed
"I shall be keeping a close eye on progress and hope that the outstanding
upgrades will all be completed by the end of next year."
LETTER FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT:-
Thank you for your letter of 13 November enclosing correspondence from
Richard Fearn, Midlands Zone Director of Railtrack, about the railway
stations at Lichfield Trent Valley and Lichfield City. I apologise for the
delay in replying.
I understand that both the stations at Lichfield should benefit from the
Strategic Rail Authority’s Modern Facilities at Stations Programme of which
a Customer Information System is to be provided at both stations and toilets
are to be provided at Lichfield City station. These are due for completion
by the end of 2004.
I also understand that the platform extensions at Lichfield Trent Valley are
going ahead to enable 8-car Pendolino trains to stop there from Summer 2003.
Later on a further extension will take place to enable 9-car Pendolino
trains to stop there.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) there is currently an
obligation on the service provider, in this case Central Trains, to provide
a reasonable alternative method of travel where physical barriers make it
impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to access stations.
From October 2004, the service provider will have to either remove, alter or
provide a reasonable means of avoiding a physical feature that makes it
impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use the station.
The SRA has asked all train operators to review their Disabled Peoples
Protection Policies in order to identify gaps between what they currently
have at stations and what is recommended in the SRA’s Code of Practice Train
and Station Services for Disabled Passengers. The SRA will make available
additional funding to ensure train operators are resourced, where necessary,
to implement the requirements of the DDA. As intimated in their Strategic
Plan, published in January, however, this process will take a number of
I hope this is helpful.
Minister of State
Department of Transport