An integral aspect of an effective, accessible and sustainable transport system for the West of England in the coming decades will be improvements to our rail services. The Government ought to be supporting vital infrastructure investment in our region, however we were all recently appalled to find out that the electrification of the Great Western railway between London and Bristol was being postponed.

The delay to the electrification works has provoked wider uncertainty in this area. There are other improvements to rail services in Bristol that are badly needed, including those which will support disabled people to use our railways. Labour’s Equality Act introduced duties on how services such as railways must be accessible to disabled people, however not all rail stations are currently complying with these duties. This includes Lawrence Hill station, where the southbound platform does not have step-free access to street level.

Today I asked a question to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Transport, Paul Maynard MP, about this issue, and secured a commitment from him to meet with me to discuss the matter further. You can read or watch my contribution below:

Thangam Debbonaire: Confusion and frustration abounds in my constituency in the Lawrence Hill area in relation to step-free access and disability access improvements to the Lawrence Hill station. Local people have been frustrated by the works and there are rumours now abounding that the works are being cancelled, postponed or just stopped.  I wonder if the minister would agree to meet with me and visit Lawrence Hill station to talk with local residents about the situation and preferably clear the matter up right now.

Paul Maynard: I’m not familiar with the exact details right now but I’m more than happy to meet with her to discover more as to what is occurring.

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