New Market Street steps are a clear winner for Waverley

Workers apply the finishing touches to the revamped Market Street steps. Picture: Greg Macvean
Workers apply the finishing touches to the revamped Market Street steps. Picture: Greg Macvean
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THE refurbished Market Street entrance at Edinburgh Waverley Station is to reopen to the public in the latest phase of a multi-million-pound project to overhaul the station.

The steps have been rebuilt using original stone, offering improved access at the station. They had been due to reopen today but last-minute delays led to the opening being pushed back to Monday.

A new steel and glass canopy has also been created, to provide passengers with protection from the elements as East Coast Main Line commuters use platforms eight and nine, two of the station’s busiest lines.

Capital rail commuters have also been given assurances that there will not be any future issues with the recently installed escalators at Waverley Steps.

Six escalators were fitted as part of a £7 million project to improve access from Princes Street to Waverley, but they have been plagued by problems since their opening.

One broke down within 24 hours of first being used in February and two more were shut off as a precaution because the glass roof was letting rain through, raising fears of an electrical fault.

Before the refurbishment, 14,000 people a day used the Waverley Steps – 40 per cent of station users – and station bosses said they expected that figure to increase thanks to the escalators.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The escalators have been a lot more settled recently and the snagging issues we encountered following their initial opening have now been rectified. We would like to assure commuters that we don’t foresee any future problems with them.”

An official ceremony will take place on Tuesday to mark the opening of the new-look Waverley Steps and lifts. Transport Minister Keith Brown will be cutting the ribbon.

The Network Rail spokesman added: “The new Market Street entrance will provide step-free access to and from the south side of Waverley Station for the first time. It’s a bigger, brighter, more welcoming entrance which is more in keeping with a modern transport hub.

“While the new lifts and new entrance are now complete, our contractor, Spencer’s, is continuing work on the platform eight and nine canopies to the west side of the Market Street entrance. To complete this work, the temporary bridge will have to be removed, so they have opened the new entrance early to minimise inconvenience to passengers.”

The recent entrance way improvements are part of a four-year, £130m project by Network Rail aimed at transforming the station and its facilities.

Builders are still working on replacing the huge station roof with clear, strengthened glass to shed new light on the station concourse and platforms, and it is understood that the entire project will be completed by early next year.

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com