A CAMPAIGNER has accused authorities of “passing the buck” over plans to improve accessibility at Abergavenny railway station.

Since last August, the Abergavenny Rail Access Campaign has called for a new footbridge with pedestrian lifts to be built to allow full access to both platforms.

Petitions launched by the group have attracted thousands of signatures from members of the public, councillors and national politicians.

Currently the only way to access the far platform is via footbridge or crossing the line accompanied by station staff, with the latter only available by calling in advance.

Plans for a new footbridge were greenlit by Monmouthshire County Council in 2011 but were cancelled over Network Rail’s concerns that it would impede a train driver’s view of a signal.

Speaking at the Bryn-y-Cwm area committee on Wednesday, local campaigner Philip Bowyer said: “It seems to me that the buck is being passed from one body to the other.

“A planning application was stopped at the last minute and we need someone to look into this and come up with a figure of what it’s going to cost to solve the signalling problem or put up a new design.”

The meeting heard that upgrades at Abergavenny remain a “high priority” with stakeholders, which also include Arriva Trains Wales, the Welsh Government and the Department for Transport (DfT).

Abergavenny station was chosen for funding through the DfT’s ‘Access for All’ programme but such money has since been diverted to other station accessibility projects in Wales.

Labour councillor Martyn Groucutt said the inability to move the signal further along the track “beggars belief”.

He added: “I recently read a report talking about bringing the railway into the digital age. If we have difficulty moving a Victorian signal, that just shows where we are.”

Conservative councillor Giles Howard said it was “pathetic that interested partners could not make a decision”.

Sam Hadley, Wales public affairs manager for Network Rail, admitted that the current situation was “unacceptable” but said “positive noises” had come from recent discussions.

“Abergavenny features prominently on a list of stations but railway schemes are very complex and have to work with the funding that is available,” he said.

Mr Hadley said that one scheme being discussed is a turnback, which would allow trains entering the station to turn and begin their return journey without leaving the station.

He added: “This work would mean that the station would have to be brought up to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) standards.”