Plan for new bridge and lifts to give train station step-free access

Network Rail has submitted proposals for the bridge at Johnstone railway station in Renfrewshire.

Plan for new bridge and lifts to give train station step-free access LDRS
Johnstone railway station: Councillor Andy Steel has welcomed plans to replace the footbridge.

Johnstone railway station in Renfrewshire is set to become fully accessible for the first time next year with plans in place for a new footbridge.

Network Rail has submitted proposals for the bridge which will include two lifts, meaning there will be step-free access to both platforms.

At the moment, there is no easy way for disabled people to get between the platforms as the footbridge is only reachable via two long flights of stairs.

Once planning permission is granted, it is anticipated works will take around ten months and it is hoped they will be completed in late summer next year.

Plans: A temporary pedestrian bridge will be put in place while construction is carried out.LDRS
Plans: A temporary pedestrian bridge will be put in place while construction is carried out.

Johnstone South councillor Andy Steel said he remembered the current bridge being installed well over 30 years ago and welcomed moves to make the station accessible for everyone.

He said: “I’m pleased to see this work proposed for Johnstone station.

“I can remember when the present bridge was installed, back in the last century, so it’s certainly time for a replacement.

“Getting lifts as part of this would be a real bonus, clearly for those with mobility issues but also for those of us beginning to creak a bit, and those struggling along with three suitcases, not fancying the stairs one bit.

“Network Rail has kept residents well informed about the plans, and I am sure will keep disturbances to a minimum. For something this positive, which will hopefully encourage rail use, it’d be worth it.”

The project forms part of the UK Government’s Access for All programme, which was launched back in 2006 to address issues faced by disabled passengers when using railway stations.

Johnstone’s other station, Milliken Park, already has step-free access to both platforms. But other stops along the same line, such as Lochwinnoch and Howwood, still have stairs passengers have to contend with.

Councillors have long fought for works to be carried out at Lochwinnoch where there is no disabled access to platform two.

Councillor Derek Bibby, who represents Johnstone North, Howwood, Lochwinnoch and Kilbarchan, added:

“This is positive news for Johnstone station.

“My wife has mobility issues so it’s something we’ve always been aware of. Anything that can make life easier for disabled people is welcome.

“I would still like to see the same thing happen at Lochwinnoch and Howwood at some point down the line so we can make all the destinations on that route accessible.”

Network Rail has said there will be a mixture of day and night works while the project is completed, and a temporary pedestrian bridge will be put in place while construction is carried out.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The new bridge will deliver modern access standards for all customers at Johnstone station.

“The new bridge and lifts will help everyone in the community access rail services more easily and delivering step-free access at stations is an important part of improving the overall experience of travelling on Scotland’s railway.”

By local democracy reporter Steph Brawn