FIVE railway stations across the borough will be upgraded thanks to a multi-million pound scheme which is set to make travel safer for commuters.

The scheme is part of the £166m Transforming Cities Fund programme, with work set to start early next year.

Barnsley Interchange, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Elsecar, Darton and Wombwell stations are the chosen sites for the upgrades - providing passengers with ‘safer and more secure’ facilities.

Dan Jarvis, Barnsley Central MP and Mayor of South Yorkshire, said: “No-one should be prevented from travelling by train because of a lack of adequate access, or accessible information on our rail stations, or because they don’t feel safe.

“This important investment in Barnsley will help to ensure that older people, disabled passengers and families with a pushchair or small children are not excluded from rail travel.

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“Our ambition for a more inclusive public transport network will help people get to great jobs, education and to many of the fantastic sights South Yorkshire has to offer.”

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) will deliver the improvements following a consultation - which ended on Monday - with passengers and rail operator, Northern.

Tony Baxter, regional director at Northern, added: “Our customers are the heart of everything we do, and we are dedicated to making Northern’s services accessible to everyone, and to having a positive impact for the north.

“It is fantastic to be working with our partners in South Yorkshire to empower people to use public transport no matter their circumstances.”

There are five key priority investment strategies, including providing more accurate information to customers, offering accessible toilets and bay change facilities and upgrading customer ticket offices to ensure all passenger requirements are met.

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said the new investment will bring more jobs to local residents as well as more opportunities for people to enjoy what the borough has to offer.

He added: “As part of our vision for Barnsley as the place of possibilities we’re committed to giving people access to better homes, jobs, services and transport links.

“Our borough is a place that fosters and grows ambition, enabling everyone to be the best they can be.

“These latest improvements to our rail stations will help us make sure everyone can access rail travel.

“In turn this helps connect local people with more jobs, and more opportunities to enjoy the retail and leisure opportunities we now have across Barnsley.

“We’ll keep pushing for more investment in our rail network.”