Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, is formally supporting a bid by Great Western Railway (GWR) for Government money from the Access for All fund to improve access at Tilehurst station.
As well as formally supporting this bid, Alok also wrote to the Department for Transport (DfT) to make the case for local commuters. Many of Alok’s constituents have raised the need for better access at Tilehurst station over a period of time. Alok has had a long correspondence with both GWR and Network Rail in the past about the need to make Tilehurst Station more accessible, particularly for those with disabilities, the elderly and parents of young children.
The Access for All fund was launched in 2006 and has installed accessible, step free routes at over 200 station. Around another 1500 stations have also benefited from smaller scale access improvement.
Alok has also worked with Theale Parish Council, West Berkshire Council and local Theale residents to persuade the Department for Transport to fund accessibility improvements at Theale Station. To make the case more directly, Alok invited the then Rail Minister to visit Theale to meet with all the key stakeholders which he did. Alok was therefore very pleased to receive the confirmation that in the case Theale station there is no need to bid for funding once again as Theale Station will receive money in this next round of funding, having been made allocations from the last round.
Alok Sharma MP said: “I am pleased that funding for the next stage of improvements at Theale station has been secured and I very much hope the bid for money for improvements at Tilehurst station will also be successful. My thanks to all my constituents who have helped to support this process.”
Responding to Alok’s letter pressing the case for Tilehurst station, Nusrat Ghani MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT, wrote: “This year, we received nominations for over 300 stations, including Tilehurst Station. As in previous tranches, nominated stations will be selected based on their annual footfall, weighted by their incidence of disability in the area. We will also take into account local factors such as proximity to a hospital or the availability of third part funding for the project. We will also ensure that there is a fair geographical spread of projects across the country. I plan to announce successful stations in April 2019.”
Photo: Alok Sharma MP campaigning at Tilehurst Station