Story joined Scotland’s Railway and friends from the community to celebrate the official opening of Port Glasgow station’s £5m footbridge and lifts.
The new footbridge allows passengers a safe route over the railway, with lifts providing step-free access to and from the platforms. The lift on platform 2 elevates to a second floor, bringing passengers to and from the Highholm Avenue park and ride car park.
It’s all part of the Access for All (AfA) scheme which is funded by DfT and managed by Transport Scotland.
Jeremy Spence, Route Delivery Director, Network Rail, said: “Access for All is a hugely important scheme and investment in Scotland’s Railway which will benefit station users, in particular those with reduced mobility, children in prams, and those encumbered with luggage.
“By making rail travel more accessible for more people, we can encourage more passengers to use public transport and hopefully more people in and around Port Glasgow to travel by train.
Thanks to everyone who made this project happen!”
Bill Reeve, Director of Rail, Transport Scotland said: “Making rail accessible is key to encouraging more people onto public transport, particularly when we make it easier for those with impaired mobility, pushing prams, or carrying luggage to move around stations.
“Through targeted schemes like this, we can prioritise those stations most in need as we progress through a programme of accessibility improvements across Scotland’s railway.
“It’s great to see it open today and to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in its delivery.”
The occasion marked another major milestone in the project to improve accessibility at Port Glasgow railway station in Inverclyde. Earlier in the year, a new ramp providing step-free access into the Princes Street entrance of the station was completed, in the space where the old taxi office previously stood.
New CCTV cameras and a PA system have also been installed to help keep passengers safe when using the station. Some of these changes were made possible thanks to a contribution Inverclyde Council, via funding from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).
Councillor Paul Cassidy, Inverclyde Council’s vice-convener of environment and regeneration, said: “This has been an incredibly complex project involving many different partners but one that has been delivered in good time and with minimum disruption.
“Most importantly, it’s a project that is going to make a huge difference to the users of Port Glasgow Train Station by providing step-free access for everyone from wheelchair users, to passengers with luggage, and parents with prams, to commuters.
“We also have a new and much more welcoming front entrance that helps enhance the station – the busiest we have in Inverclyde, as well as Port Glasgow Town Centre in general.
“This would not be possible without the significant investment of by Scotland’s Railway, supported by the council and our partners at SPT.”
David Wilson, Vice Chair, SPT, said: “SPT continues to invest in public transport infrastructure aimed at improving passenger safety and accessibility for all. This is an important project – the SPT investment has delivered new CCTV facilities, a PA system and contributed to the step-free station access. We need more of this across the whole of the public transport network and SPT will continue to champion that.”
Principal contractor STORY began work to create step-free access at the station in February. Work will halt temporarily over Christmas before the final phase starts, which will see the demolition of the old footbridge take place.
Craig Lafferty, Operations Director, STORY, said: “We’re delighted to be here today at Port Glasgow station to open the newly installed footbridge and lifts as part of the Access for All scheme that Story has been delivering in partnership with Network Rail. This work will help to put passengers first by improving accessibility for those with limited mobility or travelling with children and is the 10th project of its kind that we have proudly delivered on Scotland’s Railway.”
As part of the opening ceremony, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the station by Sylvia MacLeod, widow of former councillor, Jim MacLeod, alongside Andrew and Angela Hurrell whose daughter Stephanie passed away in 2020. Both Jim and Stephanie were known locally for their efforts to improve accessibility in the Port Glasgow area.
Also present were members of Port Glasgow West Community Council (PGWCC) who have also called for better access in recent years.
Tommy Rodger, Secretary of PGWCC, said: “PGWCC launched a campaign seven years ago to improve access to both platforms at the Port Glasgow Train Station.
“We are pleased to have worked with Stephanie Hurrell, a wheelchair user, who alerted us to the inequalities within the former access provisions.
“We also thank Network Rail for their community consultation, throughout the planning and construction processes. True ‘community engagement’.”