On Friday 4th October , in between the heavy rain downpours, the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Cllr. John Beckett, accompanied by the Mayoress, Rory Jee from Network Rail, Peter Williams of South Western Railway and representatives from the contractors Osbourne, Epsom & Ewell Councillors and members of the public officially opened the new bridge at Ewell West Station.
Work started on the bridge back in October 2018 and was due to be completed by the end of 2019 the good news is the project took less time to complete and opened within an year from its start date. Reports indicate the project cost £3.5 million and was done as part of Network Rail’s “Access for All” scheme, which is designed to allow more people to use the station.
The Access for All programme was launched back in 2006 to address the issues faced by disabled passengers and those facing mobility constraints when using railway stations in and around the UK.
Most of the railway system was designed during the Victorian era,as was Ewell West built in the mid 1800’s, and issues such as step free access were not even considered during construction.
In his speech the Mayor said “The sympathetic design and appearance of the new multi-million-pound bridge is unique. Sincere thanks for the co-operation of Network Rail, contractors Osbornes and officers of the Borough Council which has resulted in the impressive new bridge we have today”
Speaking to Dominic Dawson, a regular user of the station he explained to me the difference the new bridge has made to his journeys. “This has made my life so much easier when I need to catch a train into Waterloo, which is on the other side of the bridge. The bridge next to the road is a nightmare for me as access is to step for a wheelchair. This will save me so much time”
The lifts and the bridge have both been fitted with CCTV to monitor the areas for security and safety reasons.
At the end of his speech the Mayor added “On a final note I am delighted to say how pleased I am that a similar project is also going to bring accessibility to the neighbouring station of Stoneleigh.
It is with great pleasure that I declare the new Ewell West footbridge open.”
Stoneleigh currently has no step free access and this improvement is there much needed.