In a meeting with North East MSP Mike Rumbles today, Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf made it clear that he was ‘very sympathetic’ to the idea of carrying out the much needed improvements to disabled access to Insch Railway Station.
Mr Rumbles and local campaigners have been calling for disabled access to the northbound platform but until today their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
The Minster has agreed to facilitate a further meeting with Mr Rumbles and local transport organisation Nestrans to progress the issue. The Minister 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 would like to thank the Minister for taking the time to review the situation at Insch and for meeting with me today. 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 that 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, and the station improvement fund has been under real threat from SNP give-a-aways such as the free travel for season pass-holders. The news today is very encouraging but we must keep making the case for adequate and safe access to the station.”
Hazel Smith, Liberal Democrat council candidate for Insch in the West Garioch ward said: “This is welcome news indeed. The station in Insch is a hugely important part of our local public transport network, for surrounding communities as well as residents in the village.
“There are many people who use the station daily to commute to work, and others that use it to meet up with friends and family in the city. It is not right if some people are excluded from using the rail network because access at the station is so poor.
“The Scottish Government have promised to improve the rail network in the North East and it is right that access at the station should be one of their first priorities. A few small changes to the platform could make all the difference for people with low mobility.”