Victory in lift for Penrith Station
Rory’s campaign for a lift in Penrith station won through yesterday when he received a commitment from First Group’s MD Designate, Richard Parry, that a lift will be installed linking the northbound platform of Penrith train station.
At present, anyone wanting to access Penrith station’s northbound platform has to navigate two flights of steps at either end of an underpass. These steps are a serious challenge for anyone who is disabled, has a pram or is carrying heavy luggage. Wheelchairs have had to be escorted across the train-tracks on the high speed main line. Rory launched his campaign for a lift in 2011, meeting with station officials, writing to Ministers, and meeting all the franchise bidders to ensure the lift was installed.
Rory said: “I am absolutely delighted with this result. I made very clear in writing to all the franchise bidders that whoever was successful must make a commitment to undertake this long-overdue improvement to the station. This is a win for Penrith, and I am now pushing hard to try and make sure that the lift is installed in a sympathetic manner, which respects the great beauty of Penrith’s historic station.”
Penrith Councillor John Thompson, who has assisted on the campaign, said: “This is absolutely marvellous. Greater disability access for the northbound platform is something Penrith station has needed for many years. This long-awaited decision by FirstGroup to install a lift will ensure the station can now cater for everyone, and local people really will be delighted.”
Penrith resident and campaigner Mrs Lorna Shaw, pictured here with Rory, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the lift will be installed and I really am grateful for the hard work that Rory Stewart has done. I used the station only this weekend, and with a heavy suitcase the limited disability access was a major problem, so this installation will come as a relief to a lot of people like myself.”