ANNAN railway station is in the midst of a makeover, but one local resident believes that the focus of investment should be on improving wheelchair access at the stop instead.
Concrete blocks on the edge of platforms are being replaced, whilst a new path is being formed to platform two from the behind Elmvale Cut.
However, wheelchair users boarding trains from the platform are still unable to access it by entering the station at its main entrance on Station Road, and are instead required to cross the bridge on St John’s Road and navigate what resident Wesley Paxton has called a “zigzag path.”
Highlighting adjustments that have been made at nearby stations to improve wheelchair accessibility, Mr Paxton said: “Lockerbie station has had lifts installed to move wheelchairs across the track and rumour has it hundreds of thousands are expected to be found to install similar lifts at Dumfries.”
But Mr Paxton is calling for a return to a bygone way of crossing the tracks.
He added: “Building what used to be called a “barrow crossing” between the platform end ramps would make access for wheelchair users much more convenient.
“A crossing would cost pocket money. For those who still cannot be trusted, traffic lights and lockable gates are still cheaper than a lift. These were in use at Thirsk station in North Yorkshire, on a much busier line than here.”
Allan Weild, chairman of Annan Community Council, agreed that the station “isn’t really accessible,” adding: “You’ve got to go out and over the bridge to get on the other side. We could do with something like Lockerbie which is obviously vast amounts of money, but it isn’t really accessible for anyone that’s wanting to go northbound.”
However, on the suggestion of a barrow crossing at Annan station, he said: “I think it would be too much of a risk nowadays, you just need someone to abuse it and that’s it. I don’t think I’d like it, I’d rather see something like Lockerbie, which took a long time for them to get, but if you’re going to do it, do it properly and get a lift attached to the bridge and that would be the best.”