Work has now started on the electrification of the railway line through Chorley. A representative from Network Rail will be attending the forum to inform members about future plans and also explain about changes to the subway over the coming weeks. Forum members can ask questions and make any suggestions relating to changes planned as part of the works.
Jonathan Cooke (Communications Manager) and Hannah Lomas (Senior Sponsor) from Network Rail will present this item.
The Chair introduced Johnathan Cooke, Network Rail and Craig Harrop, Northern Rail, to the meeting. They gave a presentation on the significant improvement works taking place for train services across the north of England.
Craig Horrocks provided details of what passengers could expect from the new category 3 electric training, that were being rolled out as part of the improvements, which included –
· Power points
· Improved wheelchair access
It was further clarified that wheelchair users would also have access to power points and would be able to communicate with the conductor via a call button.
Johnathan Cooke provided an overview of electrification of railway lines across the north of England, and those works specific to Chorley.
Works relating to Chorley railway station included –
· A temporary platform had been installed for passengers travelling north towards Preston while platform 1 was reconstructed
· Platform 2, which served trains towards Bolton and Manchester was being rebuild in sections and would remain open to passengers throughout the project
· The installation of a new retaining wall beneath Lyons Lane and Brooke Street Bridges to support the railway embankment, to allow for the track to be lowered.
While the work was being carried out, the railway line between Preston and Bolton would be closed every weekend from mid-June until the beginning of October. This meant that there would be changes to weekend and some mid-week evening train services in the Chorley area.
In addition to improvement works taking place on the railway tracks themselves, work had also commenced at Chorley railway station to accommodate the new trains. The works would result in the station subways being temporarily closed while the roofs, which sat beneath the railway tracks, were replaced. However, to minimise disruption, one subway would be kept open at all times. During the disruption, additional staff would be on hand to assist passengers.
Members of the Forum were advised that when the Steeley Lane section of subway was closed, passengers would be available to use the ‘stepped’ subway as an alternative route. For those passengers unable to use the steps, a free taxi service would be available for persons with reduced mobility.
To ensure passengers were kept informed about the works taking place, information would be displayed at relevant stations, along with supporting posters and hoardings. On online hub was also being established, which would provide passengers with useful, up-to-date travel advice and information.
During debate, members of the Forum raised a number of issues as detailed below with the response –
1. Would part of the improvements works to Chorley Railway Station include better disabled access?
Works scheduled within this scheme would only address issues that related to the electrification of the railway, and the new electric trains. No further work had been planned to improve disabled access during this programme of improvements.
2. A member of the Forum highlighted that not all taxis could accommodate wheelchairs and that there needed to be taxis on standby that were fully accessible for wheelchair users.
This statement was noted.
3. The lack of shelter/canopies available to passengers waiting for trains in unpleasant and often wet conditions. This issues had already been raised a number of weeks prior to the meeting with staff at Chorley railway but nothing had been done.
Johnathan Cooke advised that prior to the Forum, he had visited Chorley railway station and had noticed the lack of shelter available, which he advised would be addressed as soon as possible.
Update from Johnathan since the meeting – a shelter to be installed on the temporary platform by 19 August.
4. There was a lack of information on the temporary platform.
Update from Johnathan since the meeting – Network Rail agreed to install information posters as supplied by Northern Rail.
5. Although it was clear there would be information posters at affected stations, and on the web site. However, consideration was needed to those who were visually impaired or did not have access to a computer.
Johnathan Cooke acknowledged that more needed to be done, to ensure information on the improvement works was accessible to all, and that Network Rail was looking at ways to improve this service.
The Chair thanked both Johnathan Cooke and Craig Horrocks for their presentation.
For travel advice and information use the following website - www.networkrail.co.uk/chorley
At this point the Chair announced a short adjournment in the meeting.