RAIL users in Helsby face an uphill struggle after a level crossing over the platforms was removed from the station.
The barrow crossing – historically used in the golden age of train travel for moving heavy loads of luggage across the platforms – was removed by Network Rail leaving just a set of steps for passengers to cross the station’s platforms.
Members of the North Cheshire Rail Users Group (NCRUG) say parents with prams, the elderly and the disabled can’t use the station.
Frank Thomas of NCRUG said: “The crossing has gone and the authorities have taken the easy way out.
“Vale Royal and Helsby Parish Councils should have been consulted and they weren’t. I can clearly see the security problems but at Helsby Station we have got a signalman there six days a week.
“It is a facility that was being used. Only this week an elderly resident rang me to say that when he uses the train he has to use the barrow crossing because he cannot carry a suitcase up the steps.
“Another who uses a wheelchair said his relatives cannot carry the wheelchair up the stairs and down the other side.
“If these people cannot use the crossing then they cannot use the trains, elderly people, disabled people, and people with pushchairs.”
Keith Lumley of Network Rail said: “I would like to remove all the barrow crossings from all the railway stations in the country. They are relics of old train stations.
“They were originally introduced when passengers used to travel with large amounts of luggage and they were quite literally called barrow crossings because the station porter would load luggage on to barrows and walk them across the platforms.
“That is something that doesn’t happen now and railway crossings pose the greatest risk to railway safety.”