COMMUTERS have praised the £25 million revamp of Haymarket Station after it arrived “on time and on budget”.
The new concourse and building was opened to the public yesterday by Transport Minister Keith Brown, who praised its “stunning new look”.
Passengers were met with giant departure boards similar to those in Waverley, new escalators, full disabled access and an 8700sq m concourse.
Moray MacWhirter, a retired solicitor from Bruntsfield, said of the new-look station: “This is Scotland’s fourth busiest station and up to now it looked a bit shabby – now it looks the part.
“I’m glad that disabled access has been improved but I still think it’s a great pity that there isn’t an entrance on to Dalry Street Lane.”
Fellow commuter Claire Brookstein, 27, from New Town, said: “I think it looks great. There’s a lot more space on the concourse too. This will be the first that a lot of people might see of Edinburgh so it makes an impression.”
The first travellers through the station doors yesterday morning were also greeted with a slice of cake – expertly made by Sharon Anderson of nearby Designer Cake Boutique on Haymarket Terrace.
Sharon, whose model fruit/madeira sponge cake drew many positive comments on social media, said: “It took me three days to make and I was quite happy with the end result. I was given all the plans so its largely to scale.”
While the redevelopment was carried out by Network Rail the day-to-day running of the station will now fall to ScotRail.
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “The new Haymarket station has been well received by customers so far. The opening of the station went well and without any issues, and customers seem to be finding their way around the new building. We have extra staff on the ground to assist passengers and look forward to welcoming even more customers through the station in future.”
It is forecast that ten million passengers will use Haymarket station by 2030.
Mr Brown said: “The exciting £25m redevelopment of Haymarket Station marks a hugely important milestone in the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).
“Network Rail and ScotRail have worked extremely well together to deliver this transformation of one of our most iconic stations on time and on budget and I look forward to seeing this kind of successful collaborative approach continue throughout EGIP. The scheme is well on the way to helping provide a railway benefitting not just our two biggest cities, but the whole of Scotland.”