Here is the latest press release from RASC.
Residents against Station Closure Press Release
27th March 2014
East Midland Trains re-introduce human
barriers at Sheffield Railway Station
In a surprise move, commuters were confronted by “human barriers” at Sheffield railway station on Thursday 20th March. Despite the former Secretary of State, RT. Hon, Justine Greening MP promising that barriers would not be introduced until a permanent solution was developed. The implicit promise in her assurance was that ticket checks would not be carried out on the footbridge until such time as an alternative route was available for people passing through the station. On Thursday “Customer Service” staff blocked the footbridge through the station during morning and evening rush hours, causing massive disruption to all station users. A stream of complaints came through to Residents Against Station Closure (RASC). These included
• the number of staff involved was intimidating
• the approach was heavy handed and at times hostile
• some staff were aggressive and argumentative
• the station was extremely congested, it looked as if there had been a major incident
• many people were late for work as a result
The staff tried to insist that everyone who was walking through took a “residents pass”. Most aggression was directed at anyone who tried to resist the pass. One woman was told if she didn’t take a pass at the front of the station, “she could be arrested at the other side”. Parents reported that school children used to using this safe route, were intimidated by the uniformed presence and turned away.
East Midlands Trains has always tried to describe the campaign for open access through the station, as little local squabble concerning a few people. In fact around 3000 people, in addition to train users, walk through the station daily, on their legitimate business and are not residents of the immediate area.
Geraldine Roberts, Chair of RASC commented:
“There is widespread disgust that Sheffield has once again been subjected to a pointless exercise which succeeded in delaying, obstructing and in some cases intimidating the public. There are no winners because the exercise is flawed. EMT doesn’t get credible data. They know perfectly well that effective ticket checks should be carried out on the train or on the platform. We can only assume they do this to flex their muscles.”
With further investment committed by Sheffield City Council to a new footpath and bike route to the Cholera Monument and by Urban Splash at Park Hill, East Midlands Trains actions are damaging to millions of pounds of investment being made in this area of the city.
The new amphitheatre has a growing programme of events which include major screenings during the Tour De France Festival and theatre companies. This summer thousands of people will want access between South Street Park, Park Hill and Norfolk Road for these events and it is essential that East Midlands Trains understand that pass systems similar to those that they have introduced at Derby are inappropriate to provide access for the many thousands of people wanting to access Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield City College, Park Hill, Norfolk Heritage Park and South Street Amphitheatre.