£400k station revamp complete but the fight goes on ...

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A £400,000 scheme to improve safety at Pontefract’s Monkhill railway station has been completed - but campaigners are still fighting for better disabled access at the site.

The long-awaited work – paid for by Metro and Wakefield Council – includes CCTV, better lighting, extra car parking spaces and improved access at the Monkhill Lane station, which British Transport Police says was the site of 17 thefts in just six months back in 2012.

But community leaders claim disabled passengers are still unable to access the station’s second platform over the footbridge.

Pontefract councillor Celia Loughran, a member of the Campaign for Improved Rail Services Pontefract, Knottingley and Featherstone, said: “It’s great news that the improvements at Monkhill are complete.

“People have been telling me how much better the station looks and how much safer they feel using it. You can also tell that a lot more people are using the station.”

The scheme follows years of campaigning for the station’s refurbishment by councillors, civic leaders and the Campaign for Improved Rail Services Pontefract, Knottingley and Featherstone.

Coun Loughran said: “As much as the improvement scheme is good news we are still waiting for the disabled access which is a disgrace.

“We’re still fighting to get these improvements so that everyone can enjoy the new facilities.”

The Department of Transport also announced in March that rail services between Pontefract and Leeds will double from 2017.

There will be two trains an hour from Pontefract Monkhill to Leeds, calling at Wakefield Westgate.

Coun Loughran said: “A lot of houses are being built around Pontefract and those people need to be able to commute.”