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Kingston Hospital chief executive Kate Grimes backs campaign against 'dangerous' Norbiton station gap
Rail users have launched a petition to get the notorious gap at Norbiton station fixed, after plans to extend the platform were announced.
For years, commuters have complained about the distance between platform and carriage, with at least three reports of customers slipping down the gap and injuring themselves.
But following news that Network Rail will extend Norbiton’s and Kingston’s platforms this summer campaigners are asking station users to sign a petition to get the problem sorted.
And they are being backed by Kingston Hospital chief executive Kate Grimes.
Ms Grimes said: “We get a lot of patients that use the station and the gap makes it very difficult for some people.
“Those with children, pushchairs or wheelchairs; people with fractures and the elderly – it’s very difficult for these people to use the station.
“I have to get off the train every day. I struggle and I see other people struggle too.
“We would support any action to sort the problem and improve access to public transport.”
John Hall, treasurer of the One Norbiton community group, said: “It just seems mad that they are going to do a huge amount of work in a few months’ time and not sort out the gap.
“I think they could put a shallow ramp in to bring the platform up to the same level as the train carriage.”
Jill Preston, chairwoman of Cambridge Road estate’s residents’ association, said: “When we asked residents at our last meeting what their main concerns were, the gap at the station was one of the things they wanted fixed.
“It is dangerous. People have slipped through that gap – I’ve done it myself. If they are doing work on the station they should fix that at the same time.”
But Network Rail said it did not have the funding to do both at the same time.
A spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately it is not a simple fix and to do so would require substantial investment for which we are not funded.
"We always welcome and take on board concerns and views of interested parties, but we have to make sure we deliver the best value railway we can, given the funding we have.
“With the demand for rail higher now than in any recent decade, we have a massive investment programme to address the critical issues of capacity and performance, which is why the platform extensions are so necessary to enable longer trains to run.”