Work to outline options for improving access to Insch railway station for people with mobility issues will get underway as funding for the project is secured by regional transport partnership Nestrans.
The appraisal study, which will assess options for improving access to the south (west-bound) platform at Insch, will be commissioned later this year.
A contribution of £25,000 to the cost of the detailed study was recently granted by the Scottish Government’s Local Rail Development Fund following a successful bid from Nestrans who will fund the remaining costs of the project.
Current arrangements mean that Insch is the only station in the north east where both platforms are not accessible to all users, leaving the station non-compliant in terms of disability legislation.
In September last year, the Nestrans Board unanimously agreed that action should be taken to work to resolve the issue and discussions have since been underway between Nestrans and partners including Network Rail, Transport Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council.
In line with the Scottish Government’s STAG guidance, the work will see the undertaking of both Preliminary and Initial Options appraisals, which will look at possible measures including; a new fully accessible overbridge, extending the south platform, creating connecting footpaths, and an option to provide vehicular access and additional parking south of the station.
Nestrans Chair, Councillor Peter Argyle said, “The access issues at Insch have been a long standing problem which forces passengers with mobility difficulties to plan their journeys and book assistance in advance, and yet they might still have to transfer from another accessible station resulting in a delay to their journey.
“Whilst Insch is not the only station in Scotland to suffer from restricted accessibility, this lack of access for all is particularly frustrating at a time when wider improvements to the local network will result in more and better services between Inverness and Aberdeen, which mobility impaired users will not be able to use to their full advantage.”
Work on the appraisal studies will begin later this year and will include full consultation with user groups, before a report with a clear recommendation and action plan for the next stages of work will come back before the Nestrans Board next year.