Wednesday the 16th of February saw the celebration take place with senior railway figures in attendance for the opening of the accessibility improvements.
The final stage of the project has seen an investment of £1.9m and includes the delivery of a lift, ramp and other improvements by Network Rail and BAM Nuttall using the Department for Transports Access for All fund.
The work completed in the project has been specially designed to fit with the beautifully preserved heritage features of Eridge station which first opened in 1868 and is shared with the Spa Valley steam railway.
This final stage of work follows a number of improvements projects carried out for the station which has seen a new £1.8m footbridge, £500,000 canopy and platform renovations including other heritage-styled improvements such as a lavish waiting room and a stunning traditional name board.
Rail Minister Wendy Morton said:
“Eridge is a beautiful example of what a village station can bring to its local community. We’ve invested £1.9 million from the Access for All programme to improve accessibility to this Victorian station, ensuring that it can be enjoyed by everyone – a central mission of our landmark Plan for Rail.”
MP for Wealden Nusrat Ghani said: “It was a pleasure welcoming the Minister to Wealden to celebrate the opening of the newly refurbished Eridge station. Train travel is a key form of transport for Wealden residents, and I am delighted to have secured this multi-million-pound funding to ensure that Eridge station is fully step-free, accessible to all Wealden commuters and fit for the future. Thank you to all the contractors and volunteers involved in delivering this project for Eridge. It is fantastic that Wealden train stations are benefiting from this major investment programme, and I look forward to seeing similar works completed at Crowborough station later this year.”
Network Rail Southern Region managing director John Halsall said: “In some ways, Eridge has become the ultimate station, with modern, accessible facilities, along with all the benefits of a classic heritage design and a steam railway too. It’s such a pleasure to celebrate this achievement with all the people and organisations who contributed to it.”
Chris Fowler, Southern’s Customer Services Director, said: “We want to create a more accessible and inclusive railway, where everyone has the confidence to travel no matter what their need for assistance. I’m delighted that the lift is now open for our customers as it will make such a difference to the community. Eridge station is a brilliant example of what can be achieved by the rail industry and local communities when we all work in partnership, and I would like to pay tribute to the Parish Council, the Southeast Communities Rail Partnership and Railway Heritage Trust for their vital contributions.”
Mark Dodd – Trustee and Eridge Lead – from the Spa Valley Railway said: “It’s been a true privilege to be part of such a huge project and to experience working with Professionals. The ramp will hugely benefit our customers, and very soon our own accessible coach will be released into traffic.”
Alan Cox – Managing Director, Transport, at BAM Nuttall said: “The completion of the AFA scheme at Eridge Station is something to be celebrated. Blending the old with the new, the improvement works have transformed this station to bring it into the modern era whilst also maintaining the beautiful heritage features of the original railway. The station now boasts accessible facilities for the railway customers and I’m proud of the collaboration between Network Rail, BAM and our delivery partners, together with the team behind the Spa Valley Railway.”
Andy Savage, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust said: “We are delighted at how Network Rail, Southern and the Spa Valley Railway have all managed to work together to restore this lovely junction station. It is an excellent example of the heritage and national rail industries working together, and we are very happy to have been able to grant-aid, and advise on these works.”
The array of improvements have been made to Eridge station by the rail industry alongside local partners and has seen £30,000 donated by The Railway Heritage trust along with design advice for the waiting room on platform 1, the focal point of the extensive heritage-styled renovation was also part of the network-wide station improvement programme by Southern. The Southeast Communities Rail Partnership and Rotherfield Parish Council have also provided significant support which saw the commissioning and funding of £1,500 for a mural that includes a historic railway map of the area.
The original article is available here.