South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed funding to improve accessibility at Dumfries Train Station but has called for similar funding to be made available for Kirkconnel Station where there is currently no disabled access on the southbound platform 2.
The funding for Dumfries station is being made available by the UK Government subject to a feasible design being produced as part of the Department for Transport’s Access for All Programme.
Colin Smyth has tirelessly campaigned for investment in services and infrastructure on the Glasgow to Carlisle route including lobbying for improved disabled access at both Dumfries and Kirkconnel stations.
Colin Smyth said, “This is welcome news for passengers at Dumfries Train Station and the kind of investment we need in local rail infrastructure. Although it is possible for someone with a disability to access both platforms at Dumfries station this involves passengers leaving the station and travelling to cross the railway using a nearby road bridge. The current footbridge within the station has no disabled access so I hope this funding will ultimately lead to this being resolved. Passenger numbers at Dumfries Train Station have grown in recent years as a result of an increase in services, and I have no doubt that by making the Train Station accessible for all we will see passenger numbers grow even further which hopefully will lead to more services. I would encourage Scot Rail to grab this funding by both hands and work quickly to develop a feasible design plan so that work can begin sooner rather than later.”
“However, Dumfries Station is not the only station with accessibility problems in the region. At present Kirkconnel has no disabled access whatsoever on platform 2. That means it is simply impossible for someone in a wheelchair to use the station for a return journey. Rail bosses argue that the number of passengers do not justify funding disabled access but more people would use the station if it was accessible. This is also an equalities issue. Someone’s disability should never be a barrier to accessing public transport but all too often it can be. I would urge the UK and Scottish Governments to work together to ensure the lack of disabled access at Kirkconnel station is added to the future list of stations to benefit from funding to improve accessibility”