Disabled access on right track

Insch Station
Insch Station

Campaigners have welcomed progress in moves to establish disabled access to Insch Railway Station.

It follows talks between Transport Minister Humza Yousaf and North East Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles in which the minister was described as “very sympathetic” towards the improvements.

Mr Rumbles and local groups have been calling for disabled access to the northbound platform at Insch.

The minster has agreed to a further meeting with Mr Rumbles and local transport organisation Nestrans to progress the issue.

Mr Yousaf also suggested that the project could be funded either through the station improvement SQUIRE fund, or possibly the Minor Works fund.

Mr Rumbles said: “I am very pleased with the outcome. I was optimistic he would see the sense of these much-needed improvements and he has.

“Plans are already underway to upgrade stations along the Huntly to Aberdeen route.

“It would be absurd to miss this opportunity to improve access at Insch Station at the same time. I am delighted the minister has agreed with calls to get on with this as soon as possible.

“There are limited funds available to pay for these improvements. The news is very encouraging but we must keep making the case for adequate and safe access to the station.”

His views were echoed by local campaigner Bill Dow.

Mr Dow, a member and former chairman of the Central Aberdeenshire Access Panel, said they had been pressing for the improvements at Insch for more than a decade.

He told the Herald: “We had two meetings with Network Rail in Inverurie in recent years and they said there was not the budget for the access improvements.

“They were more concerned with extending the platform for longer trains but the access issue needs to be addressed. I’m pleased with the latest developments and look forward to seeing firm proposals for the work and funding put in place.”

West Garioch Councillor Sheena Lonchay welcomed the news.

She said: “The current upgrade of the Aberdeen to Inverness track provides the best opportunity there has been in the last 20 years to finally allow travellers with mobility problems to get off the train at Insch without having to pre-arrange a taxi back from Huntly or wait some considerable time for a return train.”