Levenshulme Station will get some long needed improvements but access to the Victorian era station by disabled people will still be denied due to stairs only access.
Long-suffering rail commuters from Levenshulme are set to get some relief from the flooding, poor lighting and general disrepair that afflicts the station. Northern Rail and Network Rail have agreed to start the planned upgrades to the station in September 2020.
The work planned on the station does not include any disabled access to the platforms, which are currently only served by staircases, meaning disabled people will still be unable to access the station and platforms. The work to be carried out involves improvements to the subway running underneath the station, which will have refurbished walls and ceiling, along with new flooring, lights, and gutters for improved drainage. The inside of the station will also have new ceilings fitted.
Local Labour MP Afzal Khan said, “I am delighted to have a new start date for the work. Levenshulme Station is a critical transport hub for the local community. Community groups, councillors and I have been campaigning for station improvements for many years and I am pleased that our hard work is starting to pay off.”
Local campaigners have long been calling for improved access to the station. Campaign group Friends of Levenshulme Station launched a petition in 2016 calling for “accessibility for all” which had 1,135 signatures in support.
Khan, who has previously raised the lack of disability access at the station in parliament, said:
“It was incredibly disappointing that we were not awarded any Access for All funding from the Department for Transport in the last round of bidding, despite submitting a strong bid backed by a great community campaign. The truth is that the Tory Government has not allocated enough money for this work, and at the current rate it will take over fifty years for all of Greater Manchester’s stations to be made accessible.”
Levenshulme Station serves around 600,000 passengers a year. The improvements set to start in September were originally timetabled to start in the Spring of this year, but were delayed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Featured image credit: Conrad Bower