IMAGINE having to take a train to the next railway station just to change platform.
This was the bizarre situation for disabled people using Emsworth railway station because there was no proper access to the Chichester-bound platform.
But, after years of campaigning, a new ramp was unveiled yesterday following a £300,000 refurbishment by Southern Railway.
The ramp also means cyclists, the elderly and parents with prams do not have to contend with a steep set of stairs.
The ramp is the culmination of a two-year project, driven by Emsworth Residents’ Association, local schools and Southern Railway.
Earlier this year the station’s waiting room was re-opened following a community project to improve it.
Lorraine Clode, chairwoman of Emsworth Residents’ Association, was delighted yesterday.
She said: ‘We have been campaigning for this for decades.
‘If you needed to get to this platform, you would have to go to Havant first and cross the track to be in the direction you wanted to go in.’
Using the ramp yesterday was Tracey Ford, the sustainable transport engineer at Havant Borough Council.
Tracey said: ‘We have been trying to get this for 11 years and funding has always been the hardest problem.
‘I think it’s absolutely brilliant.’
The revamp of the station has allowed a large patch of green land next to the ramp to be adopted by a conservation group.
The land is looked after by The Friends of Emsworth Waysides, who look after 16 waysides in the town.
Chairman Brian Fellows said lizards, slow worms and even roe deer have been spotted.
He said: ‘We have 124 different species of plant on the site.
‘This is a really exciting project.’
The project to revitalise the station is ongoing, with Emsworth resident Jo Dyer donating a book case and books – which range from novels to biographies – to the waiting room.
Emsworth Councillor Richard Galloway said he was delighted with the changes: ‘It’s a real asset to Emsworth,’ he said. ‘The station has improved dramatically.’