Praise for platform extensions at Shepreth and Foxton but rail bosses say Meldreth work not needed

PUBLISHED: 08:43 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:47 09 November 2017

Susan van de Ven, left, with volunteers from the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership at Shepreth station. Picture: Courtesy of Susan van de Ven

Susan van de Ven, left, with volunteers from the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership at Shepreth station. Picture: Courtesy of Susan van de Ven

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Work to lengthen Cambridge-bound platforms has been completed at Shepreth and Foxton rail stations in time for the new eight-carriage trains arriving later this month, but concerns are being raised about the London-bound platforms which weren’t given the same treatment.

Volunteers from the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership have been working to plant up new weather-proof tubs.  Picture: Courtesy of Susan van de VenVolunteers from the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership have been working to plant up new weather-proof tubs. Picture: Courtesy of Susan van de Ven

Network Rail started the work back in February at the stations – Meldreth was also due a platform extension but this was pulled at the eleventh hour.

Susan van de Ven – chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group – said: “It’s very good to see the platforms extended on the Cambridge-bound platforms at Shepreth and Foxton.

“This will make a big difference at morning peak time, and of course when the new eight-car trains begin to arrive at our stations later this month – ahead of the overall timetable change next year.

“I’d like to thank the team who worked according to schedule, and kept us well informed throughout.

A 'thank you' gathering took place at Shepreth station with volunteers representing Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton. Picture: Courtesy of Susan van de VenA 'thank you' gathering took place at Shepreth station with volunteers representing Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton. Picture: Courtesy of Susan van de Ven

“It’s also important to look at the bigger picture and Network Rail’s management of public money. There has been a very significant expenditure to carry out these works, but opportunities for economies of scale have been lost in the fact that extensions have not also taken place on the London-bound platforms.

“This means that all passengers for Meldreth, and for London-bound platforms at Shepreth and Foxton, will have to heed instructions for selective door opening.

“Peak times can be chaotic, especially for people with limited mobility, and ideally all six of these platforms should have been extended in one go.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman has told the Crow work at Meldreth, and at all the London-bound platforms, wasn’t needed.

She said: “Upon completion of testing as part of preparations to introduce new trains across the Great Northern route, it was decided that the proposed platform extension at Meldreth station was not required.

“Cambridge-bound platforms at Shepreth and Foxton were extended to avoid the new longer trains straddling the level crossings at these stations, which isn’t an issue on the London-bound sides. The new trains are much more spacious inside with wider gangways and vestibule areas, and open connections between carriages allowing for much easier movement inside the train, as well as on and off the platforms.

“Govia Thameslink Railway’s drivers undergo stringent training in regard to selective door pperation, both on knowledge of the route and of the trains they are operating.”

Following the completion of the two platforms, volunteers from the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership have planted new weather-proof tubs on all six platforms across the stations.

The new tubs were purchased thanks to a grant from the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, with help from Govia Thameslink in getting them installed and Network Rail in providing compost and plants.

Mrs van de Ven added: “We’re very lucky to be supported by so many people of all ages, including a steady stream of Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award volunteers. “

If anyone would like to help out with gardening at any of the three stations, email railusergroup@gmail.com.

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