Anger over closure of ‘vital’ station underpass during train strikes
A rail company has come under fire after saying a heavily used underpass that connects a Stockport suburb to the city center would be closed during next week’s rail strikes.
More than 40,000 Network Rail workers and 13 train operators are set to quit next week on Tuesday June 21, Thursday June 23 and Saturday June 25 in a dispute over wages and redundancies. This means that the number of services running is greatly reduced, with a number of stations not being served, including Stockport.
However, a local councilor joined a number of residents in hitting Avanti West Coast, which runs the resort after announcing it would close completely on the day of the strikes.
This means a tunnel that runs under the railway line between Edgeley and the town center will also be out of service. Avanti says that for “security reasons” it cannot be left open unless the station is staffed and all rail staff will be needed on the routes where services operate.
However, Edgeley Ward Councilor Shelia Bailey accused them of being ‘inconsiderate’ to locals during the move. The underpass runs from the Edgeley Station entrance on Station Road to the City Center entrance across the tracks at Grand Central.
It is a widely used road in the town center among residents of Edgeley in Shaw Heath. There was an outcry in 2015, with over 5,000 people signing a petition when ticket barriers were put up at either end. as part of an attempt to crack down on tariff evasion. However, those wishing to pass are now permitted to do so by station staff.
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And Earl Bailey thinks it should stay open for industrial action next week. “I really don’t see why it should be closed,” she said. “It is very easy to block access to the station platforms. It would certainly help people.
“It’s used by people going to work, downtown, in Grand Central. And shutting it down is an unnecessary inconvenience that will be imposed on residents. It’s completely reckless.”
A footbridge which crossed the railway line from Shaw Heath roundabout to Thomson Street next to Edgeley Armory has been removed and is not expected to be replaced until the autumn. This means that those wishing to travel to the city center must use Greek Street or Heaton Lane to walk around the station, increasing journey times.
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“They just took the easy option of shutting everything down rather than thinking about the local residents, which they should have done,” she added.
“If we want to encourage more walking and cycling and getting away from cars, we need to make it as easy as possible for people.”
A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said: ‘With no trains stopping at Stockport on strike days (Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June) the station will be closed and our emergency staff is used where the route is open.
“For security reasons, the Stockport underpass can only open when staff are present at the station. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”
Northern and Transpennine Express have encouraged passengers not to travel with them during strikes with Transport for Greater
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