After accepting an invite from the Town Council, representatives from Network Rail attended the full council meeting on Tuesday evening to explain to members why there has been a further delay to the schemes to provide step free access to platform 2. Members heard how the scheme had been deferred in 2019 due to Government cuts, but had been due to start construction at the start of this year. A combination of inflationary pressures, budget challenges set by the government, and the pandemic were cited as the reasons for the most recent delays. Network Rail apologised to the Council and wider community for the latest delays.
The meeting pressed for some assurances the project would still go ahead and was advised that a design review and tendering process would consume much of this year, and with a construction period of up to nine months completion by early 2024 was now anticipated. The meeting was also informed that the agreed taxi provision by the rail companies for disabled passengers unable to reach platform 2 was not widely advertised, and that a councillor had witnessed a disabled passengers being misadvised by train staff to proceed to Langley Mill to change trains.
Councillor Scott Walker said ‘it is clear that the root cause of the delays rest with central government and I urge our local MP Nigel Mills to turn his repeated broken promises into firm action with his government colleagues. Levelling up for Alfreton has so far seen our direct London Services cut, our regional services reduced by around 35% with 48 hours notes, threats of closure to our ticket office, and promised funds for the access scheme spent in Market Harborough.” The meeting resolved to write to Gary Walsh, East Midlands Route Director for Network Rail pressing for urgent progress, and share the latest update with the Derbyshire Law Society asking them to bring litigation against Network Rail under the Equalities Act. The meeting further agreed to write to East Midlands Railway and Northern Rail seeking confirmation of their provision for disabled passengers, and details of the training provided to station and train staff for these arrangements.
Full details of the Network Rail update can be found here: Network Rail update on Alfreton Station May 2022