OLD taxi ranks at Waverley Station will be replaced with two new platforms as rail chiefs prepare for a massive surge in passenger numbers.
Network Rail will splash out £25 million on its latest investment programme, which will also see other platforms lengthened to accommodate longer, busier trains from London and Glasgow.
Work will begin in February to create more space for platforms, as well as remodelling tracks on approach to the station. But taxi drivers today hit out at the plans after they were banned from the station for “security reasons”.
They now believe Waverley bosses were using potential terror threats as an excuse to force them from the station and extend platforms – a claim denied by Network Rail.
Edinburgh Taxi Association secretary Raymond Davidson said: “It’s clear that was their intention all along. There’s a lot of disappointment, not just from the cab drivers, but from the passengers as well. For people who have disabilities, it’s an absolute disgrace.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The decision to remove private vehicles from the station was first taken in 2008. That decision was taken for security reasons. By the time it was acted upon, Waverley was the last station run by Network Rail to allow private vehicles on to the station concourse.”
The improvements form part of two separate investment programmes, one by the Scottish Government to allow longer trains and faster services between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and another by the UK Government to upgrade services on the East Coast Main Line.
Rail bosses say disruption to passengers will be kept to a minimum, with work completed by March 2016.
David Dickson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “Waverley is a vital gateway for millions of daily commuters and visitors to Edinburgh. Throughout its history, Waverley has evolved to meet the changing demands of Scotland’s railways.
“As well as further improving passenger facilities within the station, this latest investment allows us to introduce much needed additional capacity into the east of Scotland rail network and helps Waverley provide improved services to passengers for years to come.”
More than £300m has been spent on the station over the past decade under a major modernisation programme.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport convener, said: “It’s great to see continuing investment in Waverley Station, creating a world-class transport hub for people travelling to and from the Capital.
“The latest improvements to the station will doubtlessly provide a boost to the local economy, bringing more visitors from around the country and enhancing access to an increasing number of passengers.”