A TRAIN station in the North-East has been identified as a “weak link” for passengers in a survey conducted by campaign group Transport 2000.
Concerns about the lack of cycle storage facilities, direct bus links and access to the northbound platform at Morpeth Station in Northumberland have been raised in today’s publication of the Weakest Link survey of passengers to find the best and worst stations to travel to in England and Wales.
North-East travellers as a whole said poor bus links, difficult-to-cross roads, a lack of cycle paths and secure parking for bicycles were barriers to using their local station.
Nationally, less than a third of passengers thought bus timetables at stations were clear, while a majority said there was not a safe cycle route and would not feel safe leaving their bikes at stations.
Just 36% said paths to stations were safe while most said town centres and nearby facilities were not well signposted from stations.
Tara Melton, from Transport 2000, said: “Morpeth station has seen a growth of 8% in the last year and is increasingly popular with commuters. The National Rail website warns that the car park fills up by 8.30am. Shockingly, however, there are no cycle storage facilities.”
Transport 2000 welcomed moves by the Government to tackle the situation, through improved access and provision for bicycles at stations.
Dennis Fancett, chairman of the South East Northumberland Rail User Group, said: “The southbound platform at Morpeth has a bus turning circle marked ‘bus only’ but no buses call there.
“Buses only serve the main road which is a short walk away.
“There are no sign posts to the bus stop. To get a bus into town you have to cross the main road with no pedestrian facilities. We’d like to see the bus company working to get the buses actually into the station complex.”
He also expressed concern that there was no step-free access to the northbound platform and suggested a path could be built from a side road.
Network Rail, which has responsibility for the train network, said Morpeth would be considered as part of a programme looking at improving stations.
Bus company Arriva – the main operator in the area – said it was unable to provide direct services due to difficulty getting out of the link road to the station on to the main road, but would consider doing so if the issue was resolved.