Backing for bridge

EFFORTS to improve “ludicrous” arrangements for disabled rail passengers crossing the tracks at Montrose station have received political backing from MSP Alison McInnes.

Mrs McInnes said this week she is working alongside local councillor David May to highlight the need to replace the station’s Victorian pedestrian footbridge.

Mr May said recently that the public is being “taken for granted” by Network Rail’s failure to resolve the issue, which has been continuing for years.

Despite being programmed for last year work has still to take place and the rail authority has been vague regarding when it is likely to take place, with a spokesman saying it would begin “pretty soon.” Mr May has called on the company to be more specific.

The Lib Dem MSP this week said she has taken up the matter with Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown.

She said: “Having been to Montrose Railway Station many times, I am fully aware of the need to replace the current bridge and improve access for passengers.

“I understand that Network Rail has previously indicated that it intends to undertake work a number of times, with the latest timetable suggesting that it would be completed by last November.

“Funding of £41 million has been set aside to improve access at stations for disabled passengers as part of the Access for All programme. I understand that this has not been fully committed to date.

“I have written to the Transport Minister to highlight the need for improvements at Montrose and to ask for further information as to when the work will start.”

Welcoming her support, Mr May reiterated that the current arrangements for disabled passengers are far from satisfactory.

He said: “It’s ludicrous that some disabled people, parents with pushchairs and passengers with heavy luggage who are travelling north but wish to disembark have three options at present. They get help from the railway staff to cross the open line, stay on the train to Stonehaven before crossing the bridge there and taking the next train back to Montrose, or get off the train at Arbroath and take a taxi to Montrose

“I understand that Network Rail has not responded to recent inquiries from the transport manager at Angus Council. Why is this project being delayed and when will it get under way? I’m delighted that the Scottish Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes has followed up on this as in my view the public in Montrose deserve answers.”