Second bridge revelation after Sheffield station protest

A SECOND bridge could be opened to the public at Sheffield Station to solve the row over ticket barriers.

Sheffield Central Labour Party candidate Paul Blomfield has revealed Transport Minister Lord Adonis, who visited the station last month, is seriously looking at ordering a feasibility study into opening the station's second service bridge as a public walkway.

The revelation comes as more than 100 demonstrators gathered at the station at rush hour last night to cross the closed footbridge armed with placards in defiance at the ban on non-rail users.

There would be no public access from the bridge to platforms and the structure would be extended at either end, linking the tramway with the station forecourt.

Mr Blomfield said: "The idea would provide an alternative link between Norfolk Park and the city centre, leaving East Midlands Trains free to erect barriers on the existing bridge.

"It would mean residents would still have a safe, accessible walkway and the rail company could stop people without tickets getting to trains."

READ MORE: 'Don't railroad us over footbridge' - SEE PICTURES FROM LAST NIGHT'S PROTEST

The wooden service bridge, at the south end of the station, was last open to the public during the station refurbishment several years ago, while the main bridge was being rebuilt.

It would need major refurbishment to bring it into use - which, coupled with the cost of the extensions, would cost around 1.5 million, Mr Blomfield said.

But he added the plan would take time to implement and called on station operator East Midlands Trains to suspend its ban on non-passengers using the main station footbridge in the meantime.

The company has started placing staff at either end checking tickets before allowing people to cross and is to install permanent ticket barriers in the coming months.

Mr Blomfield said: "We are campaigning to maintain a safe and satisfactory walkway across the station and this looks like a potential solution.

"I don't think Lord Adonis would say he was considering a feasibility study if it wasn't an idea he is taking seriously.

"But because it could take time to come to fruition, a condition should be placed on East Midlands Trains that they suspend ticket barriers until the second bridge is open."

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