In a move highlighting the importance of accessibility in infrastructural projects, Network Rail has withdrawn its application for a stepped footbridge at the Copmanthorpe crossing near York. The decision comes amidst widespread criticism from campaigners advocating for a more inclusive design, one that would better serve people with disabilities and those with pushchairs.
Public Inquiry Spurs Reconsideration
The initial proposal for the footbridge, part of a broader plan to replace a level crossing over the railway line, was met with objections calling for a ramped bridge. The feedback, gathered from a public inquiry, prompted Network Rail to reevaluate its approach. The company has indicated that it would use this opportunity to 'evaluate solutions' and reassess 'the benefits of all options'.
Part of a Broader Connectivity Initiative
The proposed footbridge is part of a larger, multi-billion pound upgrade of the Transpennine route. This ambitious project, backed by a £3.9 billion government investment, seeks to bolster northern England's connectivity. Upon completion in the mid-2030s, the upgrade promises to deliver up to eight trains per hour, hundreds of extra seats, and a reduction in travel time between Manchester and York by 10 minutes.
A Victory for Accessibility Advocacy
The withdrawal of the footbridge application underscores the power of community action and collaborative efforts. Copmanthorpe councillor Chris Steward welcomed the decision, expressing hope for a truly accessible crossing that would cater to all users. Meanwhile, campaigners view this development as a victory, highlighting the significance of inclusive design in public infrastructure projects.