Ludlow councillors and Philip Dunne have been working towards getting a lift installed at Ludlow Station for several years. The lift was approved under the Access for All Scheme in April 2019. Since then, it has gone rather quiet. Earlier this week I asked Network Rail what the current situation is. The response is:
“The aim is to deliver the new Access for All footbridge at Ludlow station by March 2024 to meet DfT funding timescales. We have engaged a contractor to take forward detailed design and will share drawings when these become available.”
This very good news though I wish it could be sooner.
Passenger using the ramps on Platform 2
At Ludlow station people who are disabled or with limited mobility must struggle 600 metres from the ticket office on the northbound Platform 1 to the southbound platform along paths that are partly uphill and very uneven. The route is not suitable for people with disabilities and it is pitch black in the dark. People with limited mobility find they must use the footbridge steps, which is not only a struggle, but also not particularly safe.
The new lift on Platform 1 will allow people to access the footbridge platform and use the modern access ramps on Platform 2 to join trains travelling south towards Hereford.
The new fleet of Class 197 trains which are expected to be in service by the end of the year will also make it easier for people with limited mobility to access trains. That is particularly important on Platform 1 northbound to Shrewsbury because the track is banked to allow through trains to pass the station at a higher speed. It can be very difficult for people with limited mobility or with heavy luggage to get on and off the trains on that platform.
This is not the only improvement that is needed at Ludlow Station. Ugly plastic barriers are in place outside the ticket office. These are there to reduce the number of vehicle manoeuvres in a shared pedestrian space for cars and pedestrians. We need a long term solution. Discussions between the Sustainable Transport Group of Ludlow 21, Network Rail and Shropshire Council have been going on for some time. As we have learnt with the installation of the lift, it takes time to make progress on railway matters.