February 5, 2016
MP calls for upgrade of Highbridge and Burnham Railway Station

Burnham-On-Sea's MP James Heappey has this week called on Network Rail to make improvements to Highbridge and Burnham Railway Station.

It follows the release of official new government figures that show over the past year an extra 21,500 passengers used Highbridge and Burnham station, an increase of 13% and over nine times the national average.

Mr Heappey told "These figures are very encouraging and highlight the growing role that Highbridge and Burnham Station has to play in supporting both local businesses and residents who commute to work or college elsewhere. I am certain that with the right improvements, passenger numbers could grow significantly in the future."

The MP has visited the station this week with officials from Network Rail to show them how further improvements are needed.

"I wanted to show Network Rail the current issues with both access and car parking which limit the number of passengers who can access the station," he said.

"The arrangements for step-free access are a real concern and need to be addressed. So too are there opportunities to improve the amount of car parking and for making sure that there is pedestrian access to the station directly from the new Brue Farm development. I was pleased that Network Rail could see the faults and the opportunities for improving our station."

Julian Burnell, Senior Communications Manager for Network Rail, responded: "We take very seriously the concerns of local residents and so when James wrote to us and then invited us down to see the issues first hand we were keen to oblige. Having seen the problems first hand I am hopeful that a solution can be found and I will be working with James and the local authorities to see how the improvements might be made."

Mr Heappey has also been talking to the train operators about possible improvements to the timetable at Highbridge and Burnham station.

"There is currently too much of a difference between the journey time to Bristol from Worle or Yatton and Highbridge. This means that many people from the villages around Highbridge are driving to stations the other side of Weston to catch their train or just commuting all the way by car," said the MP.

"Our connection to Bridgwater and Taunton is good but it would be great if some peak time trains coming up from Exeter to Bristol could stay on the mainline and skip Weston and Weston Milton. That would mean that Highbridge to Temple Meads would be just 35 minutes. Once the mainline from Bristol is electrified, this would also mean it is possible to get from Highbridge to London Paddington in around two hours."

Also see:
MP steps into by-election debate over Highbridge rail station access
The Office of Rail and Road's (ORR) data on railway and station usage


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