Disabled access at Abergavenny train station needs to be top funding priority

Better access at Abergavenny train station should be a top priority when funding is released for rail projects, an MP has said.

The Department for Transport is expected to make money available in April which will go towards station improvements.

A delivery group including Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales and the Welsh Government will then prioritise different projects and decide how funds are spent.

Monmouth MP David Davies, who has met with officials from Network Rail to discuss the lack of disabled provision at Abergavenny, believes the station needs to be strongly considered for investment.

“The current situation is not just unacceptable for anyone who is disabled, it is also very difficult for passengers arriving or leaving with heavy luggage,” he said.

“Abergavenny hosts a number of major events like the food festival which attracts visitors from across the UK. For many people, the train station will be the first thing they see.

“It is therefore important that we get Abergavenny as high up the list as possible for funding – preferably at the top.”

Local County Councillor Maureen Powell, ward member for Castle, said it was “ludicrous” for a station as big as Abergavenny not to have proper access.

She added: “The lack of a lift means that disabled passengers, older people and those with heavy luggage or pushchairs needing to use the southbound platform have to struggle over a steep footbridge which has 45 steps and is difficult to navigate, especially in bad weather.”

“The other option is to wait for an official to open the barrow gates and escort them across the track.

“In the evenings there are no members of staff available once the ticket office has closed, meaning that passengers in wheelchairs have no proper access at all.”

Passengers with mobility issues often have to book assistance at least one full day before they plan to travel. Others have previously been advised to add 50-plus miles to their journeys to use southbound trains from Hereford.