SMART has repeatedly tried to raise the issue of access to Marsden Station. We have always received the reply that it is too difficult and too expensive to create access for disabled people, older people and people with push chairs to Platform 1.
Since Network Rail is in the process of considering what enhancements are needed in order to provide for more trains along the route (the much-delayed Transpennine Route Upgrade), there would appear to be an even stronger case now for improving the access at the same time.
From May 2018, most Manchester-bound trains use platform 2 (rather than the accessible platform 3). Having to negotiate a steep set of steps is bad enough, but having reached the platform it gets no better. The height difference between the platform is and the train is 51cm (or, if you prefer imperial measurements, 1’9″).
We have made clear our opposition to this, and will continue to do so. The pressing need is to improve access, not to bring access for Manchester-bound trains down to the unacceptable standards of the Huddersfield-bound platform.
Network Rail are now (March 2019) in the process of raising the platform height of platform 2. Our preference would be for platform 3 to be the main westbound platform until such time as full disabled access is provided to all platforms. If the choice is between platform 2 with a large height gap and platform 2 raised to a safe height, then the latter is preferable.
However, it is imperative that a firm commitment is given that the Transpennine Route Upgrade will provide full disabled access to all platforms at Marsden (and the eastbound platforms at Mossley & Greenfield), and in terms of disabled access that is the main focus of our campaigning.