Fix ‘neglected’ High Brooms railway station pleads frustrated commuter

Rob Young

High Brooms Station is being ‘neglected’ by Southeastern, resulting in scenes of ‘chaos’ and serious health and safety issues a Tunbridge Wells commuter has claimed.

But despite overcrowding at the 120-year-old station, no serious funding for station upgrades is expected after former minister of state for transport, Baroness Kramer admitted the station was not important enough.

Barry Crick, 39, who has used the station to travel to London for the past 15 years at the cost of almost £5,000 believes the rail operator and government has ignored the plight of commuters.

The IT manager, who has campaigned on the issue for over a year, said the main problem was trying to access platform two where passengers are required to access or exit via a narrow set of stairs.

He said: “Almost every day when traveling home platform two is in chaos, people push and squeeze to fit down the tight stairs while people try to race up to get the train before it leaves.

“And in the past year it has got worse especially with the schedule changes in London meaning people cram to get onto certain trains.”

“Many mothers with buggies use this line and they are stuck unless someone offers help to carry the baby buggy down the stairs and this is a huge safety issue. I have witnessed this many times.”

The father of two said the final straw came after his wife had nearly fallen down the stairs holding their new born baby son, putting her off using the station.

She is now forced to walk two miles each day to pick up their nine-year-old daughter from Broadwater Down School.

He further said his own experience of using the station while on crutches for two months had been a ‘nightmare’ especially when it was raining.

However, his harshest criticism was reserved for Southeastern.

He said:  “They seem able to spend money on information boards and additional staff to check tickets and want to invest millions for wifi on trains but no money can be put aside to implement a ramp to improve the station services.”

In a letter to Greg Clark from Baroness Kramer, the former secretary of state said no state funding would be forthcoming.

She said: “High Brooms was the 71st busiest station nominated and it would therefore have been difficult to add it to the programme ahead of other, busier stations.”

A Southeastern spokesman said: “We fully understand Mr Crick’s concern around accessibility at High Brooms.

“We have in the past put the station forward to receive government funding, under the Access for All scheme, to ask for investment in accessibility. Unfortunately, this was not successful.”

The spokesman said the station is due for a repaint and has had a recent ‘deep clean.’

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