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Date Published: 1st September 2018
Highbridge Station is in need of major improvements although trains run to London, Bristol and Exeter
Improvements to Somerset’s train stations welcomed (but more needs to be done)
The area around Brent Knoll, Rooksbridge and Highbridge is blessed with excellent transport links that include the M5, the A38 and A370, as well as the railway stations at Highbridge and Bridgwater and Bristol Airport just up the A38.
However the railway station in Highbridge has a long way to go if it is to meet the standards expected in the 21st century. Although there are trains to London, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter direct from the two platforms facilities at the station are limited. Despite the claims on the website with symbols for various facilities there are no toilets, step free access, wifi, café, or a manned booking office. Plans are in place say Network Rail for major improvements to the stations and tracks in Somerset although there is a long wait before Highbridge’s station sees any work.
Network Rail issued this statement to the media over criticism that the operator was failing to upgrade stations in the county. They said: "As part of the rail industry's long-term plan, which contains commitments to improve customer satisfaction and make communities stronger, we want the railway to be accessible to everyone. Across the network we are budgeting more to focus on continuous improvements at stations - adding toilet facilities, hearing loops and upgrading lifts.
"In 2015 we commissioned the 'On Track for 2020? The Future of Accessible Rail Travel' report, and are on course with the plan to see over 80 per cent of passengers enjoy fully step free access to platforms. There are a number of stations across the country which were built many years ago with little consideration of accessibility. We are committed to improving access at stations and work closely with our funders, including the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver improvements. The DfT has a dedicated fund, known as 'Access for All' which is used to make improvements at stations. The decision about which schemes receive funding is made by the DfT with the support of Network Rail and train operation companies.
"This process considers a number of factors including current access arrangements, passenger numbers and feedback from local stakeholders. These stations do not have funding in the current 'Access for All' funding cycle (2014-2019) but should additional funds become available through third party investment, we would be happy to work on improved access solutions with all interested parties."
Network Rail also said: “We have been carrying out extensive improvements to the railway through Bath and North East Somerset, including major upgrades at Bath Spa and Keynsham stations. This has included platform and signalling upgrade works as well as modifications to bridges and other structures along the route to provide line clearance for new Intercity Express Trains.”
The Stables Business Park said in a statement that these improvements were welcome but more work needed to be done at Highbridge and Bridgwater (pictured) stations now.
In a statement the business park at Rooksbridge said: “Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea station was opened in 1841 and became one of the major hubs for the network within 50 years of its installation. Since then the authorities have allowed the station to decline in importance closing the line from Glastonbury to Burnham-on-Sea and cutting the services and facilities. The 21st century has seen the revival of train services as a popular form of transport and it is vital for businesses but so far Network Rail have only paid lip service to improving things in Somerset.”
For details on the Stables Business Park call us on 07968 910 761, or email us from our website at www.stablesbusinesspark.com where you will find much more information, a video, testimonials and news.
Rose Farm Developments (UK) Ltd. The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT.