Sheffield railway station barrier protest

Transport Minister Chris Mole visited Sheffield station – and ran into campaigners against the closure of the footbridge to the public.

A delegation of residents was waiting to lobby him over East Midlands Trains' plans for automated ticket barriers that would stop non-passengers crossing the bridge.

They presented him with a letter quoting from a Transport Select Committee report which found "Gates introduce new drawbacks including delays and obstructions for passengers; they are not in keeping with historic stations; and they are not always the best method of protecting rail revenue.

"The Government, in consultation with the rail industry and passenger groups, needs to review this one-track approach and develop a more holistic policy."

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The letter points to the support of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive whose most recent survey indicated that 1,800 people a day use the footbridge to get to and from work and home. This is in addition to those travelling by train.

Keith Hayman, who chairs the group Residents Against Station Closure, said: "We were pleased Mr Mole MP took the time to visit Sheffield Station and take away our literature. We hope he will take notice of the 1,500 people who have signed our on-line petition and are very concerned about EMT's plans."

The rail company says he wants to install the barriers to stop fare dodging and is suggesting residents are given passes that would allow them to continue to use the footbridge, which is a pedestrian route between the city centre, Norfolk Park and Park Hill and a Supertram stop.

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