Canterbury East is one of the latest to benefit from the government’s Access for All scheme, as Network Rail starts to install new lifts and a new footbridge in a project due to be completed by July 2021.
Tactile strips, the rows of raised dots that warn the visually impaired that they are nearing the edge of the platform or the stairs on the footbridge, will also be installed.
The £4.8 million investment at Canterbury East station, which is located 61 miles from London Victoria on the Dover branch of the Chatham main line, will make the station much easier to use for passengers with mobility issues, older people and parents with young children.
The design of the new footbridge, lift and stair structure is sympathetic to the existing station buildings and wider conservation area. The use of brick at the lower level of the proposed lift shaft will also be in keeping with the existing station buildings, while the proposed cladding will resemble the signal box’s weather boarding.
Fiona Taylor, Kent route director for Network Rail, said: “Access for All is a significant investment, which helps to make using the railway even easier for the millions of passengers, who travel by train every year.
“Canterbury East will have step-free access for the first time and the new bridge and lifts will be a valuable addition to the station’s facilities.”
The Department for Transport’s Access for All programme has allocated more than £300 million to make further accessibility improvements at stations over the next five years.
Rail Accessibility Minister Chris Heaton-Harris commented: “Making stations more accessible is vital to allowing more people to get out and about, either to work or see friends and family.
“Step-free access at Canterbury East, thanks to a new bridge and lifts, will give disabled people more confidence to use public transport.”
Kyle Miller, station manager for Southeastern, added: “We’re always wanting to do more for our passengers to make the railway as easy to use as possible, and the start of work at Canterbury East means that full step-free access is now well on the way to becoming a reality.
“The new footbridge and lifts will not just make getting around the station easier for people with accessibility issues but will also be of great benefit to people with luggage, which is particularly important for a station in a popular tourist destination as well as providing an additional route to cross between the platforms.”