Don’t get left behind by new 20-minute rule

Bridlington railway station
Bridlington railway station

Passengers who cannot use the footbridge at Bridlington railway station could be caught out if they are trying to get the train to Scarborough.

Anyone who has a wheelchair, pushchair or heavy luggage and wants to get to platform four now has to get to the station at least 20 minutes before their train leaves.

Until now, passengers with mobility problems crossed the tracks using a ‘barrow crossing’, a path linking the two platforms which was supervised by station staff.

But signs have now appeared flagging up the 20-minute rule and there are also reports that people wanting to get off Scarborough-bound trains at Bridlington who cannot use the footbridge will have to go to Bempton and get a taxi back, if Bridlington station is unmanned.

The issue was raised with the Free Press by Cyril Oliver, chairman of Bridlington Civic Society, who said the situation was “not really satisfactory” and fears some people may be put off travelling by rail because of the “nonsense”.

He said: “When crossing at Bridlington you pass in front of a signal. Apparently, because you pass in front of the signal you are not sure to be protected by it even though it is red.

“I think there is room to move the crossing behind the signal if that is a simple solution.

“Of course the whole of the problems would be overcome by providing lifts or signalling to use the other through platform in both directions with some changes to the timetables.

“There is also the easiest of all solutions , a special instruction to exclude the rule at this location.

“This compliments a problem highlighted some time ago when there is a train to Scarborough arriving Bridlington when the staff have left having completed their turn of duty.

“Anyone not able to leave via the stairs has to travel to Bempton where the staff on the train will have arranged a taxi to go and pick them up and presumably take them home, but I’m not sure this is what actually happens.”

A spokesman for Northern said: “We are currently operating a 20-minute crossing rule to ensure our customers using platform four at Bridlington station are as safe as possible.

“The rule is in place to give Network Rail signallers advance warning of people crossing the line.

“We are currently working with colleagues at Network Rail to develop a new method of working for this crossing which will streamline the process and provide customers with greater flexibility, yet continue to ensure their safety.”