The new facilities – which includes the addition of two lifts, a new footbridge, and more accessible stairways – now make the station much more accessible. This improvement work was delivered by Network Rail as part of the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme, providing much-needed step-free access for all passengers using the station.
SCRP helped Network Rail and train operators Southern and GTR to bring the community together for the opening event on 2 September by sharing partner contacts and voicing the needs of the local community throughout the planning process.
The opening event included a steam locomotive from Bluebell Railway, an historic photographic exhibition and model of the old stations from the local museum and musical entertainment by ‘Men in Hat’s’ band. Refreshments courtesy of Bluebell Railway included the now famous cinnamon buns provided by SCRP.
A memorial plaque was also unveiled on the day, commemorating local resident Eric Mackie, who dedicated much of his time to improving access for people within the local community.
Local dignitaries attended including local MP Mimms Davies, the Town Mayor, Cllr Adam Peacock and representatives of the Town Council, local accessibility action group Disability Access in East Grinstead and Network Rail, as well as Southern/GTR’s management team, local residents and members of the Southeast Communities Rail Partnership (SCRP), who work closely with local and national partners to ensure each of their seven community rail lines are accessible and open to all.
Sharon Gray, Community Rail Development Officer at SCRP, said:
“I was very impressed by how much Network Rail wanted to engage the local community for this event – it was our pleasure to work with them.
“By using SCRP contacts, our steering group members, the local museum and of course the Bluebell Railway, all these elements mixed together gave the event a great ‘party’ atmosphere and enabled the station to celebrate moving into the 21st century by welcoming everyone to travel, regardless of any physical difficulty.”
You can keep up to date with future projects and events from the Southeast Communities Rail Partnership via their website.