HORTON-in-Ribblesdale Station is to receive £800,000 of government funding as part of an improvement scheme for passengers and Three Peaks visitors worth almost £2 million.

The package is a share of a £20 million funding package being spread among 16 stations across Yorkshire from the Department of Transport to ‘accelerate the pace of change for a more accessible transport network’.

A Department of Transport spokesman said the £800,000 windfall for Horton in Ribblesdale was to replace the current level crossing, the only access across the line, with a new footbridge and was part of a £1.9 million scheme at the site. The remainder of the funding is understood to be coming from Network Rail.

The new bridge will also have a disabled lift through a request by the parish council.

The funding for the bridge was discussed at Monday night’s meeting of the parish council. Councillors said they were ‘very appreciative of the actions taken in respect to accessibility of the rail network for everyone’.

Parish Council clerk Andrew Blackburn said: “The money should provide a lift system for the new rail footbridge and make the accessible project viable for Network Rail and particularly Horton Quarry which requires a rail link from the main line into the quarry.”

He said the quarry wanted to open up the old sidings and rail link to the main line at Horton, but as the quarry train would have to manoeuvre into the station before it could reverse back to the quarry Network Rail said it was a health and safety issue and insisted on a footpath.

Mr Blackburn said original plans drawn up by Network Rail did not include disabled access and after a response by the parish council and other users, amended the plans to incorporate electric lifts.

The new bridge will not only benefit rail users, but also Three Peaks walkers who cross the line on the 26-mile route.

Mr Blackburn added: “The lift system to be incorporated with the bridge will make the railway station accessible to everyone, and in 2020 this must be mandatory.”

In announcing the funding package, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives - but is not the reality for everyone. I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 16 train stations across the Yorkshire and the Humber more accessible - a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all.”

The improvements are being made through the government’s Access for All programme.