The Access for All Mid-Tier programme has had its budget raised from £17m to £37.5m. Upgrades to the stations will include new lifts, ramps and raised ‘easy access humps’ on platforms as well as new accessible toilets.
Rail Minister Norman Baker said: "Rail journeys don't start and end at the carriage door. For many people - whether they are elderly, disabled or parents with prams - getting from the station entrance and on to the train can be the hardest part of their trip.
“Despite the need to reduce the deficit, we are committed to improving access to stations across the country as this can make a huge difference to people’s lives. In recognition of this, and of the large number of high quality bids we received for this funding, we are today announcing projects worth more than double the £17m budget we originally allocated to this programme."
“We are also adding £2m a year to the current £5m allocated each year to train operating companies which will be used to fund more minor works and releasing £57m of funding earlier than planned to Network Rail so that they can accelerate the delivery of the main Access for All programme.”
Major improvements will take place at Acocks Green, Aldershot, Alton, Barry Island, Bearsted, Bexleyheath, Birchwood, Blackhorse Road, Chirk, Crayford, Crystal Palace, Edmonton Green, Ewell East, Hackbridge, Hampstead Heath, Kensal Rise, Keynsham, Llandaf, London Paddington, Machynlleth, Nailsea and Blackwell, Paddock Wood, Queen's Road Peckham, Radyr, Redhill, Richmond, St. Austell, St. Neots, South Tottenham, Stratford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stevenage, Swindon, Theale, Wakefield Westgate, Wendover, West Hampstead, Wokingham and Ystrad Mynach stations.
Network Rail will also receive funding to add tactile edge paving at 27 stations and £5m to provide “easy access humps” at a number of stations to reduce the stepping distance between the platform and the train.
The improvements are being funded as part of the Department for Transport's Access for All scheme which aims to improve access to railway stations. All work at the stations will be completed by March 2014.
A further £2m a year for the next three years will also be added to the existing Access for All small schemes budget. Small Schemes funding is allocated to each train operator to deliver more minor access improvements at local stations and this additional funding restores the budget to its pre-Spending Review level of £7m a year.
A further £57m of Access for All funding will be brought to allow Network Rail to deliver accessible routes at 27 stations earlier than currently planned.