RAIL bosses have been accused of ignoring calls for a vital entrance to be incorporated into the £25 million revamp of Haymarket Station.
Campaigners from Sustrans Scotland, Living Streets Scotland and Transform Scotland have sent an open letter to Network Rail, which is overseeing the redevelopment, questioning why pedestrian access from the Dalry side of the station has not been included in the plans.
The letter compares reconstructing the station without such access to “re-building your house but not insulating the loft”, adding: “You know that you should, but you cannot get sufficiently organised to do it, yet you know that in a few years you will need to return and finish the job, causing mess and disruption in the process. Better to seize the moment, do the job and not lose the shoe for the want of a nail.”
The letter states that three-quarters of people who use the station leave on foot, meaning more than two exits are needed. There is a contractor’s entrance on Dalry Lane, leaving them puzzled as to why no entrance was planned in an area serving the International Conference Centre and Tynecastle Park.
Colin Houden, Director of Transform Scotland, said: “We have correspondence with the council and Network Rail dating back ten years asking them to strongly consider adding pedestrian access from Dalry.
“To rebuild the second busiest station in the Capital without doing so just seems daft to us and it’s not like no-one has suggested it to them – we’ve been at them for years.”
John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, added: “We have offices right next to the station so we’re very aware of the problems lack of access from that side can cause. Something really needs to be done before the redevelopment has been completed.”Haymarket Station is used by 1.9 million passengers every year. The overhaul is the biggest in the station’s 170-year history and is scheduled to finish later this year.
Plans include a new concourse north of the platforms, and removal of the footbridge and staircases, to be replaced by escalators and lifts. It is hoped the new design will ease the extra pressure expected once the tram project is completed.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “A south side exit from the station on to Distillery Lane is not part of this project, but the works would not preclude future opportunities being explored and developed. However, Distillery Lane is private and in the ownership of a number of different parties.
“Outwith the station the public realm is the responsibility of the council and we are, of course, happy to be involved in any future discussions about provision of a pedestrian access route to the south of the station.”