Investment in West Calder gives station accessibility a lift
West Calder station’s new, fully-accessible footbridge and lifts have opened to passengers, as part of a multi-million-pound transformation of the West Lothian station.
The installation of the £2.7 million bridge provides step-free access via lifts to both platforms and has been completed as part of the Scottish government-funded Shotts Line Electrification project, will improve access within stations for people with impaired mobility, travelling with luggage, children, cycles etc.
Constructed over the last ten months, the bridge includes lifts and stairs and replaces the old station footbridge which was no longer fit for purpose. The new bridge and stairs opened in April to enable the old bridge to be craned out and the lifts commissioned for service.
Construction work on the new structure was delivered over a 10 month period from a purpose-built site compound established initially to enable work on the A71 road bridge – completed early in 2017. The new bridge is part of wider work on the Shotts line being delivered by Network Rail ahead of the electrification of the route in 2019.
The old bridge, which will find a new home on Bo’ness heritage railway was removed by a 130t crane in 3 lifts – with work taking place during the 10 day closure of the line back in April so as to minimise disruption for passengers.
During work pedestrian access was maintained between platforms as the old footbridge remained open throughout while the station was open. The footbridge was only closed at night to enable work on the new bridge – constructed immediately to the east of the old structure.
The addition of the new and removal of the old bridge structures meant there was a need to resurface the approach footpaths, sections of the platforms and to make it easier for passengers to access the new bridge.
Kevin McClelland, route delivery director for infrastructure projects, said: “We are continuously seeking opportunities to make stations more accessible and the new footbridge at West Calder will help ensure that everyone in the community has the opportunity to easily access train services and thus enables more people to travel by train.
“Opening the new bridge is another important milestone for the electrification project – with the added bonus of enabling the old bridge to be relocated and preserved at Bo’ness heritage railway – which is great to see.
“We have cleared structures all along the route to avoid them being an obstruction to the safe running of the overhead wires which will enable electrification. Doing this in the station also brings the benefit if significantly improving accessibility which will transform the travelling experience for everyone using the station which is fantastic”.
The work on the new footbridge at West Calder station was delivered by contractor Bam Nuttall on behalf of Network Rail.
Electrification of the line across North Lanarkshire and West Lothian coupled with improvements at stations will transform the journey experience for passengers who will enjoy the benefits of improved services for many years to come.