Re-open the Shrewsbury Railway Station – Abbey Foregate Footpath
The path links Abbey Foregate with platform 3 of the station which itself extends across the River Severn railway bridge. This was a station access used when matches were played on the old Gay Meadow football ground – now Riverside Meadow housing.
There have been attempts over more than 10 years to re-open this path. The scheme has been persistently opposed by Arrival Trains Wales (ATW), the current train operator, who would prefer to keep the single station entrance for ease of operation. Their franchise expires in October 2018. During the first half of 2017, the four shortlisted bidders (Arriva Rail Wales, Abellio Rail Cymru, KeolisAmey and MTR) are preparing their final bids in the run-up to submission in July. There is a short window of opportunity to convince bidders to include the re-opening of this second station access.
Here is the case for re-opening the footpath as an access to the station from the south east:
- In the last 10 years passenger numbers have grown by more than 50% (ORR data). If the trend continues, numbers are expected to exceed 3 million by the end of the forthcoming franchise, adding more congestion to the station forecourt and to town centre traffic creating an obligation on the rail industry to contribute to measures to moderate this
- If there were a pick up/drop off point in Abbey Foregate with parking in this area augmenting the existing station parking, this access would reduce town centre traffic and promote walking and cycling
- The walking distance from Abbey Foregate to the station is reduced by two thirds from 1,150m via English Bridge and St Mary’s street to 390m using this path
- Such an access would benefit businesses in Abbey Foregate and Belle Vue/Longden Coleham and all residents on the county side of English Bridge
- The path may also be used by people walking through to Castlefields, but larger stations have such permissive access. For example, in Inverness there is a major thoroughfare between the bus station and town centre via platform 7 [detail at http://tinyurl.com/InvStation ]
- Platform 3 is the least used platform (1 train /hour) and is outside the gate-line ticket barrier which protects the rest of the station.
We urge Shropshire Council and the Marches Strategic Rail Group to take the lead in pressing franchise bidders to open this second station entrance.