Hundreds turned away as station bridge shut

FURY erupted at Sheffield station today after pedestrians were blocked from using the bridge.

Hundreds of angry people were turned away by officials, backed by police, who were positioned at both ends.

The surprise move to only grant access to people with train tickets comes after months of deadlock in discussions with the council, campaign groups and residents.

It was introduced by East Midlands Trains who say it is needed to cut fare dodging and improve security at the station.

But the measure was slammed as a "shambles" by pedestrians and tram users who now have to take a detours, the closest being via a bridge with numerous steps.

Is this a much needed move or just a shambles? Let us know what you think by adding a comment below.

Mum Michaela Kelly, aged 29, from Frecheville, had to get help from passers-by to manhandle her pram, and baby Ruby-Ellen, down the steps.

She said: "I had no idea that the station bridge was shut, it's come as a nasty surprise today. After months of discussions they go and do without warning. No wonder the staff were getting abuse.

"This alternative would be impassable for me without help, where's the respect for customers?"

The new regime affects residents crossing from the Norfolk Park and Park Hill areas, tram users, city centre workers and students at Hallam University.

Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn said he had been bombarded with calls from irate constituents.

He had immediately phoned EMT director Jake Kelly to express his "disgust" because Sheffield MPs were still in discussions with the Government about alternatives.

Mr Caborn said: "It's unacceptable, they should have told people and any checks should not impede free passage. I have asked him in the strongest terms to stop blocking the bridge."

An EMT spokesman said a "line had to be drawn" after months of discussions. Manual barriers were a half-measure compared to the automatic barriers desired by the firm.

He added: "It's not a problem of our making, we were left with no choice."

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