Passengers being “taken for granted”

THE MONTROSE public is being “taken for granted” by Network Rail’s failure to solve access problems at the town’s station, according to a local councillor.

Despite being in the pipeline for years, replacement of the station’s passenger footbridge has still to be carried out and the rail operator has been vague over when work is likely to begin.

A spokesman said recently the new crossing is due in 2012, adding: “This has been the case for much of 2011.”

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

Councillor David May said: “In my view it is appalling that Network Rail has failed to respond to the issue being raised over several months on the company’s plans for the replacement of the bridge.”

The bridge replacement project was due to start last spring but was delayed by Network Rail until November due to concerns the new structure could affect train drivers’ sightlines.

The new footbridge will include lifts on either side, which will finally mean disabled travellers will no longer be manhandled across a boarded walkway which was originally designed for luggage barrows.

Previously, disabled travellers from the south who wanted to disembark at Montrose have had three main options - to ask for assistance from railway staff to be carted across the open line, to keep going until Stonehaven and then travel back the way they had come or get off in Arbroath and complete the journey by taxi.

Councillor May is now demanding answers from Network Rail as well as more information about when the scheme is likely to get under way. He also said the delay is holding up further improvements planned by Montrose’s town centre regeneration group.

He added: “It is outrageous that they have failed to reply to the correspondence and to give a new date and reasons for the delay. The Montrose public is being taken for granted and groups such as the disabled, infirm and parents with prams and young children have huge difficulties with the present arrangements and deserve to know when action is going to take place.”