Chirk ‘Access for All’ Scheme
The installation of a new footbridge and accessibility improvements at Chirk Station in North Wales were complicated by significant space limitations on site. Griffiths’ methodology ensured safe working and incorporated Network Rail’s Adjacent Line Open (ALO) working procedure.
Chirk Railway Station on the Shrewsbury to Chester Line, serves the small town of Chirk in the county borough of Wrexham, North Wales.
Network Rail’s ‘Access for All’ programme, funded by the Department for Transport and Welsh Government, aims to improve accessibility at rail stations across Wales. As part of the scheme, improvements to Chirk Station included a new footbridge to connect the north and south platforms, as well as a range of other accessibility enhancements.
Previously, access between the platforms was via an extension to a road overbridge at one end of the station. This presented a challenge to users with reduced mobility as well as parents with pushchairs and passengers with heavy luggage.
As the work would take place within the footprint of an operational line with significant space limitations, the design and delivery methodology was developed to comply with Network Rail’s Adjacent Line Open (ALO) working guidance. Safety and the minimisation of disruption of the train services and passengers was the main priority throughout.
The first step was to extend the northbound platform to accommodate the ramp of the new bridge. This included building and backfilling a containment wall as the foundations of the bridge would be close to the line.
Once the containment wall had been built, Griffiths worked closely with Network Rail’s telecommunications team on the temporary realignment of surface laid signal and telecommunications cables. The cabling was re-positioned from existing cable troughing and re-ducted to protect it from damage. This activity was vital in ensuring the line remained operational.
The platform extension works were all carried out in a ‘high street environment’, allowing the station to remain safe and operational throughout the work. The footbridge was erected during non-disruptive possessions and line blockages.
As well as the platform extension and new ‘Access for All’ footbridge, the station car park was extended to increase the number of spaces, including more disabled spaces.
Griffiths also installed a new drop off point, station lighting improvements on the new footbridge and the extended car park. New accessible ticket vending machines and white circular help points were installed on both platforms, while CCTV was installed to cover the new footbridge and extended car park. The station also benefits from new signage.
The improvements at the station provide a step-and-obstacle-free solution, fully opening up the station to all users.
To celebrate the completion of the project, Susan Elan-Jones, MP for Clwyd South, and Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, were joined by staff from Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales and Griffiths to open the new station. Also in attendance were representatives from Wrexham County Borough Council, Chirk Town Council and the Friends of Chirk Station community group.
It is great news that passengers at Chirk are benefiting from these essential improvements. The new footbridge will help make journeys better for customers who are disabled or have limited mobility, as well as making a real difference to those with heavy luggage or buggies. This is all part of our plan to build a
rail network fit for the 21st century.
Claire Perry, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport