Lift works delayed at Hitchin and Letchworth train stations
- Credit: Archant
Construction work to build lifts at two Comet country railway stations is running months behind schedule.
Work by Network Rail to install lifts at Hitchin and Letchworth GC railway stations began last year but neither has been completed – three months after the expected opening date.
It means there is still no access to the stations for disabled people, with the work now due to be finished in July.
The Comet has previously reported about a delay to the Letchworth GC works after Network Rail had to gain access to the line via The Settlement’s car park in Nevells Road, something not originally planned. In total 21 trees in a conservation area had to be felled to reach the train tracks.
Letchworth GC resident Chris Jones, who founded the MS Trust which is based in the town, said: “We have been waiting a long time for Letchworth station to have step-free access and to find out there will be further delays is particularly frustrating, especially for our volunteers and staff who find it difficult to come to our offices in the Spirella building by train.
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“We look forward to the day when Letchworth GC is accessible to all.”
Colin Bassett told the Comet he has been unable to visit Hitchin from his home in Biggleswade because of the lack of access.
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The 64-year-old, who uses a frame to walk, said: “It has all just taken so long. When the works started we were told it would be finished by Easter but that’s been and gone. It has just gone on and on.”
Oliver Heald, MP for North East Herts, said: “This whole scheme has been delayed for years. I have been campaigning for lifts to be installed for many years with the support of many disabled people locally.
“It is disappointing that the scheme is behind schedule and I shall be contacting First Capital Connect and Network Rail to press them about this matter.”
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are currently delivering accessibility improvements at Letchworth GC to provide step-free access at the station. We had to construct an alternative access site point to build the lifts at Letchworth GC and owing to this additional work, it means that the lifts will be brought into public use at the beginning of July.
“We would like thank the station users for their patience during the work.”
Regarding the Hitchin Railway Station lifts, the spokesman added they were “aiming to be completed in July”.