After years of campaigning, Chessington South Station finally opened as fully accessible on Thursday (June 13) for the first time in its 80-year history.

South Western Railway (SWR) praised the efforts of those involved in bringing disabled access to the station, while Kingston MP Ed Davey (Liberal Democrats) was there in person to cut the ribbon and officially re-open the station.

"We’ve invested more than £300,000 to make the station accessible so it’s great to see these facilities ready for our customers," Alan Penlington, SWR’s Customer Experience Director, said Thursday.

"We’d like to thank all of our partners who contributed to the project and made this happen," he added.

In tandem with the opening ceremony, SWR released a full list of the improved facilities at the station, which include:

  • Step-free pedestrian path from platform 1 to the station forecourt and new way finding signs
  • New compliant accessible car parking bay
  • New anti-slip treads on steps and new hand rails
  • New lighting for the path and additional CCTV cameras
  • A new cycle shelter for 12 bikes

The re-opening followed years of dedicated campaigning by activists in the area for the station to be made accessible for all those who might wish to use it, including elderly residents as well as disabled people in the community and visitors from outside the borough.

Campaigners also highlighted the input of Simon Burge, the strategy and development director at Merlin/Chessington World of Adventures, Jolyon Martin MD of Chessington Garden Centre and Ali Ash, the head of Chessington School, as well as staff and students at the comprehensive.

Mr Davey, who is currently bidding to become the new leader of the Lib Dems, underlined the community's efforts at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

"It has taken years of campaigning and has at times been frustrating but all that work has now come to fruition.

"With the new cycle racks and plans to improve the landscaping, Chessington South station will be transformed," he said.

"This is great news and will be a real boon for disabled people but also families with buggies and senior citizens with mobility issues," the Kingston MP added.

Also in attendance alongside some of the campaigners who helped make the renovation a reality were Chetna Khatri, Network Rail’s scheme sponsor, and Councillor Christine Stuart, ward member for Chessington South and the council’s Disability Champion.

Cllr Stuart said: "The council is committed to doing whatever it can to make travelling on trains as accessible as possible for our residents.

"We thank our colleagues at SWR, Chessington World of Adventures and Chessington School for their help in making these major accessibility improvements at the train station a reality."

Ms Khatri for her part added praise from Network Rail for SWR in helping make the long-term project a reality.

"We are delighted with the completed accessibility improvements at Chessington South station...we would like to thank the station operator, South Western Railway, for their drive to make this project a success," she said.