The work was supposed to be finished before the summer holidays but has been delayed
Delayed work to make Aldershot railway station more friendly to disabled users is still two months away from completion despite being originally due to finish before the summer holidays.
The £1.7 million Access For All scheme to build a footbridge between the two platforms, complete with lifts on either side, was due to start in February and was welcomed by many who felt the station had for too long been inaccessible for those with disabilities.
However, the project’s start date was pushed back and it was revealed this week that the lifts and bridge are not estimated to be ready until October.
A South West Trains spokesman said the delay had been caused by studies and preparation work ahead of the construction.
“The work started later on site because the commissioning phase took longer,” he said. “This is not unusual with projects like this one. The project got postponed after more urgent engineering work got brought forward.”
The lifts were described as 95% complete, with only the electronics to be completed and certified.
Before the improvements were made possible through a share of £37.5m funding from the Department for Transport, with contributions from South West Trains and Hampshire County Council, the only way of between the three platforms was via an underpass.
A lower ticket office window had already been installed at the station to accommodate wheelchair users. The work at Aldershot station follows the installation of a bridge and lifts at Farnborough Main station, which were completed last year.
Councillor Mike Roberts, a member of the Alton Line Users Association, said Aldershot station was a crucial link to places such as Ascot and Guildford, to join the Portsmouth line.
“Here we are, some weeks on from expected date, and we’re still waiting,” he said. “It’s three months longer that disabled users will have had to go to the end of the platform to use the barrow-crossing. I’ll certainly be only too pleased to see Access For All there. It’s not just for disabled people, it’s for parents with prams too.”
The project was followed by an announcement in April that £4.1m would be spent on encouraging people to use trains, bicycles and buses in Aldershot more often.
The money from the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund was pledged by the county council to update lighting around the train and bus stations and make other small-scale improvements at five stations, including Fleet and Farnborough.
Rushmoor Borough Council members have also called for work to go further and for the station building itself to be looked at as a potential site for development. Speaking at a leisure and youth policy and review meeting earlier this year, Cllr Peter Crerar described it as in an “appalling state” and suggested it could be turned into offices for rent.