A tale of two bridges
Should Sheffield Station be kept open so that pedestrians can use it to walk to the city centre, or should its operators be able to protect their ticket revenue with barriers? As a fresh row erupts, we take a look at the alternatives. Have your say.
The contested pedestrian route through the station
A fresh row has broken out in the ongoing dispute between East Midlands Trains, who operate Sheffield station, and Sheffield City Council and campaigners from Park Hill who believe that the station provides essential access to this area of the city.
The dispute centres on the station’s central footbridge which takes rail passengers to their platforms, but also provides a pedestrian link between the city centre and the Park Hill and Norfolk Park areas, which are cut off from the city centre by the railway lines.
Sheffield City Council had opposed EMT’s plans to introduce physical ticket barriers at the station and now say they are shocked that the station operator has introduced human barriers on some days instead.
Safe and well lit
Campaigners say that the station’s footbridge is a safe, well lit route for pedestrians. The shortest alternate route is via another, unlit, footbridge several minutes walk away. On the day the BBC photographed this route, we saw evidence that it is used by intravenous drug users.
The alternate footbridge with drugs paraphernalia
On foot, the shortest pedestrian route avoiding all footbridges would add around half a mile, or ten to 15 minutes, to the walk from Park Hill to the city centre.
Park Hill is currently undergoing a £150m facelift which aims to transform the icon of brutalist architecture into a desirable place to live again.
Gateway to the city
Sheffield Station itself has recently been at the centre of a £50m redevelopment which turned the station and Sheaf Square into a ‘gateway to the city’.
Council Leader Paul Scriven has accused EMT of cutting the city in half. EMT says that it needs to protect its revenue in the economic downturn and that it would allow pedestrians with limited mobility to pass through the station, as well as issuing some free passes for the barriers it wants to see installed.
What do you think?
The case for access: campaigner Geraldine Roberts who is Chair of 'Residents Against Station Closure'
“The issue isn’t about people having their tickets checked. In one instance when human ticket barriers were put in place at the train station only four ticket machines were working, scores and scores of people missed trains and were delayed. People who had one way tram tickets who wanted to walk through the station to the tram stop were not allowed. People who also walk through the station who live on the other side were not allowed through either. It is a vital pedestrian link, 2,500 people a day who are not using the trains use this as a walk through.
"The issue is that this is a purpose-built pedestrian link and is effectively closed when barriers are in place. Our argument is if they have a fare evasion problem they will want to sort this problem out, and perhaps one way of resolving this is to put inspectors on the platforms."
The case for barriers: statement from East Midlands Trains
“Since the start of our franchise, it has been our intention to install automatic ticket gates at a number of our key stations. Sheffield is one of these key stations. We believe automatic ticket gates are the most effective way of preventing ticket-less travel, something that is critical to our business during the current economic downturn.
We have now been in discussion with local residents and other stakeholders for several months over these plans. We have endeavoured to reach a solution to maintain access through the station for those who believe they need it and have offered all local residents a free electronic pass to allow them to pass freely through the station."
last updated: 07/05/2009 at 13:07
Have Your Say
Should Sheffield station be a throughfare for pedestrians or should East Midlands Trains be able to protect their revenue?
N P Johnson
N P Johnson
Kate paying for others every day!