Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has secured further accessibility improvements to Billingham Station from Network Rail after raising the issue of a lack of tactile warning on the platforms.
In May, Alex wrote in support of Guide Dogs UK to ask Network Rail to install tactile paving, a distinctive surface pattern of truncated domes, cones or bars which can be detected by a cane or underfoot. This is an important navigation tool for blind and visually impaired passengers – at both Billingham and Stockton Stations. Both stations were identified by Guide Dogs UK as lacking any form of tactile warning.
Alex has now received confirmation that the plans to bring step-free access to Billingham Station – funded through Access for All money which was secured by Alex in February 2019 – will now be expanded to include tactile paving. Disappointingly, no money has been promised for Stockton Station and Alex will now be working with Network Rail and the Department of Transport to find funding for this station.
“Everyone should be able to access their local station safely and without obstacles, and I’m delighted that Network Rail has agreed to expand the scope of the accessibility improvements to Billingham Station to include tactile warning for blind and visually impaired people. This will go alongside the step-free access which we secured in 2019.
“It’s disappointing that no money has been earmarked for Stockton Station due to funding constraints. I will now be working with Network Rail and calling on the Department of Transport to find funding to bring this important accessibility improvement to Stockton Station.”