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*This article was first published in the Edinburgh Evening news newspaper on the 26th of March 2019*
Plans for the future of Edinburgh Waverley railway station are steaming ahead this week and commuters, local residents and tourists to the city will all be able to glimpse a look at the proposals for the future of the station at Network Rail and City of Edinburgh Council’s exhibition in the station.
The consultation comes as Network Rail and partners progress the Masterplan for Scotland’s second busiest station, so that it is fit for purpose into the next few decades. Currently the station handles 23millon passengers each year, with this figure expected to rise to around 49million every year by 2048.
The Masterplan for the station is ambitious and some of the design options available would be truly revolutionary.
There are plans for the potential creation of a lift or access route, directly from the station to North Bridge which could dramatically improve arrivals and onward travel and from the station.
There are discussions around a radically redesigned station arrival experience at Waverley Bridge would could create and entirely new and welcoming gateway to the city, showcasing the best of Edinburgh from the minute you step of the train with views of Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument and Princes Street Gardens.
Many constituents have contacted me over the years to raise concerns over the current station arrival experience.
Presently 44% of passengers leave the station via Waverly Steps, an often-unpleasant experience for commuters at rush hour, and challenging for tourists with heavy bags. Disabled passengers also struggle at the station and making it more accessible will be at the core of any improvements.
Visit the exhibit in the station this week or go online to have a look at the plans and have your say.