MP seeks funding for upgrades at Biggleswade's overstretched station
PUBLISHED: 08:08 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:54 05 October 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
North East Beds MP Alistair Burt is seeking funding to improve access and facilities at Biggleswade railway station.
There is no disabled access at the station and the ticket office has just one member of staff.
As the town grows, the station is used by an increasing number of commuters – which has led councillors and campaigners to call for better facilities.
The problem was highlighted last month, when long queues for tickets were reported at the station as staff were on holiday and one of the two ticket machines was not working.
Mr Burt recently carried out a survey of his constituents, asking them what kinds of improvements they would like to see on the rail network.
It included questions on current satisfaction levels, what improvements people would like to see at stations, and the impact the proposed 2018 timetable changes might have.
The Conservative MP told the Comet: “Following my recent survey of rail users, the issues of accessibility at Biggleswade station was highlighted as still being a major concern to passengers.
“The government operates an Access for All programme to fund improvements to railway stations.
“I am working with Govia Thameslink, Central Bedfordshire Council and the town council to identify how we obtain this funding, and what additional funding might be also be available from local developments, to ensure the necessary improvements can be made.”
The town’s deputy mayor Madeline Russell has said that while the station platforms were recently upgraded to cater for 12-car trains, commuters often tell her it is standing room only by the time services get to Biggleswade.
Town councillors say there is a lack of commuter parking at the station and that urgent action is needed to provide more parking for train users and for people using Biggleswade town centre.
The feedback from Mr Burt’s survey has been passed on to Govia Thameslink.
The results showed that a third of railway users were not aware of the current timetable consultation, which closed in July 2017 – and of those that were aware, only 10 per cent believed the changes would positively impact on their journeys.