Disabled user access delayed

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AS LONG ago as February the Review reported that promised access improvements at Montrose Railway Station would be delayed until November.

There are no arrangements for those in wheelchairs or pushing prams, other than the hazardous method of bumping up and down the steps on the 100-year-old footbridge, or by being pushed over the actual lines on a ‘barrow crossing’.

There were even instances where passengers from the south stayed on the train until Stonehaven, where they changed to a south-bound train and, back at Montrose, were able to leave at the ‘correct’ side of the line.

A new footbridge will include lifts on either side.

In February we reported that Network Rail had told Councillor David May that there were concerns the bridge replacement could affect train drivers’ sightlines.

He said then: “Apparently the bridge may have impacted on train drivers sighting a signal.”

Councillor Mark Salmond is losing patience with the situation, and told us: “I have decided to write to the Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown asking him to clarify the timelines of the Montrose project. If work is to start soon that’s okay but if there is to be a lengthy delay then I intend to invite him to meet me at Montrose station to let him see for himself the issues that the Montrose travellers with disabilities have to endure to cross the rail line.”

Mr Salmond added: “Five other Scottish stations have now been announced as getting disability lift improvements yet Montrose still waits to hear when the agreed work will start.”

A press officer at Network Rail said the new crossing is due in 2012, adding: “This has been the case for much of 2011.”

He went on to say that preparatory work had taken place, and that he would expect the physical work to begin in 2012, “pretty soon”.

The press officer added that the last time he had checked the Montrose situation, a couple of weeks ago, there was nothing to suggest that problems had surfaced.