Rail minister Wendy Morton, Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani and others celebrate completion of improvement projects at beautiful Sussex railway station Eridge – shared with Spa Valley steam railway
(Press release Network Rail:) 16 February 2022 - Rail minister Wendy Morton, Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani and others celebrate completion of improvement projects at beautiful Sussex railway station Eridge – shared with Spa Valley steam railway.
A host of senior railway figures gathered at the classic country junction station of Eridge, East Sussex, today (Wednesday, 16 February) to celebrate the opening of accessibility improvements that mark the final step in a transformation of the location.
The £1.9 project saw a lift, ramp, and other improvements delivered by Network Rail and BAM Nuttall on behalf of the Department for Transport’s Access for All fund. The work was designed to blend in with the heritage aspects of the 1868 station, which is remarkably well-preserved and shared with the Spa Valley steam railway.
It follows a series of projects to improve the station, including a new £1.8 million footbridge, £500,000 canopy and platform refurbishments, and other heritage-style improvements, including a luxurious 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 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.’
A variety of improvements have been made to Eridge station by railway industry and local partners. The Railway Heritage Trust donated £30,000 and design advice for the waiting room on platform 1, the focus of a comprehensive heritage-style renovation that was part of Southern’s network-wide station improvement programme. The renovation received significant support from the Southeast Communities Rail Partnership and Rotherfield Parish Council, which commissioned and funded a £1,500 mural incorporating an historic railway map of the area.
Notes to Editors
- The Access for All Programme was created in 2006 as part of the Department for Transport’s Inclusive Transport Strategy to deliver accessible routes at stations most in need across Great Britain.
- The £390 million programme was extended in 2014 with a further £163 million.
- Nus Ghani MP was Transport Minister from 2018 to 2020 and championed accessibility and the Inclusivity Transport Strategy.
Eridge station was opened in 1868 by the Brighton, Uckfield and Tunbridge Wells railway. At its peak it served as a junction for the Cuckoo line to Eastbourne via Hailsham, the line to Brighton and Lewes via Uckfield, and the route to Tunbridge Wells (West and Central).
The line to Lewes was truncated at Uckfield in 1969 and the line singled in 1990. The line to Tunbridge Wells West was closed in 1985 but was reopened in 2011 by the Spa Valley Railway, returning trains to platforms 2 and 3 again.
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