Plans to make “one of the least-accessible stations in Scotland” usable for all travellers could take a key step forward this month.
Insch Station in Aberdeenshire has long posed severe problems for people with limited mobility, physical disabilities and parents with pushchairs.
It is currently the only station in the north-east where neither platform is accessible to all users, meaning some travellers have to transfer from other, accessible stations, causing delays to their journeys.
The regional transport board Nestrans has been working on solutions to the issue and was awarded £38,464 in 2018 though the Local Rail Development Fund to part-fund accessibility appraisal studies.
Members of the board will be updated on the final stage of the options process on April 14.
If Transport Scotland concludes the Nestrans’ appraisals provide “robust strategic business cases”, then it will consider the board for potential further funding or support.
“Simply not good enough”
Aberdeenshire West SNP candidate Fergus Mutch said many members of the community have contacted him with their concerns about lack of accessibility at the station.
Mr Mutch said: “Insch is one of the least-accessible stations in Scotland.
“A number of local residents have been in touch in recent weeks about the lack of progress in improving step-free access at the station.
“Right now, those with a disability have to contend with going to their nearest fully-accessible station in Kintore. That’s simply not good enough.
“Disabled people have the right to travel with the same freedom and dignity as everyone else.”
Report will “shortly” go before Transport Scotland
Ahead of the board meeting, Nestrans transport strategy manager Paul Finch said: “The accessibility study for Insch Railway Station is being undertaken in line with Scottish transport appraisal guidance, and has been supported by Transport Scotland’s local rail development fund.
“The preliminary options appraisal report was approved by Transport Scotland in December 2020.
“This work built on an earlier case for change report, which evidenced the key issues at Insch.
“The third and final stage of the options process, a detailed options appraisal, has now been carried out by consultants Aecom, on behalf of Nestrans.
“This report will shortly be submitted to Transport Scotland for their consideration, with the Nestrans Board due to be updated on progress on April 14.”