CAMPAIGNERS have called for urgent action to be taken to ensure all railway stations in East Renfrewshire are step-free.

Barrhead is the only station in the region which is step-free, with a ramp to platforms two and three and a lift to platform one, as well as an underpass which allows access between platforms.

But the same can’t be said for Neilston, Clarkston, Williamwood, Whitecraigs, Patterton and Giffnock, where passengers must use stairs if they wish to access all areas of the station.

Michael McEwan, chairman of East Renfrewshire Disability Action, said train travel has always been a problem for those with mobility issues and called for major investment to bring stations into the 21st Century. 

Barrhead News: There are calls for more stations to follow Barrhead’s lead by offering step-free accessThere are calls for more stations to follow Barrhead’s lead by offering step-free access

He told the Barrhead News: “This has been a problem for a long time. We are meant to be an inclusive country but it seems like disabled people are becoming more isolated.

“The biggest thing for me is Disabled people have to plan so far in advance if they want to go anywhere. Sometimes they have to ring up Glasgow and let them know they are on the train. We just go out and don’t think about it

“There are all sorts of other problems too, not just station access. Ticket machines are not friendly to people in wheelchairs or people who don’t have much power in their hands.

“Serious money needs to be thrown at this as, in general, trains and train stations are old fashioned.”

A report issued by disability charity Leonard Cheshire last month found that almost half of rail stations in Scotland are inaccessible to many disabled travellers due to not being step-free.

The charity is now campaigning for legislation to ensure all stations are step-free by 2030, making journeys fully accessible from the purchase of a ticket through to accessing the station and on-board information.

A spokesperson for Network Rail told the Barrhead News: “Many of the country’s stations date from the Victorian period and were not designed with the needs of all travellers in mind.

“We are working closely with government to improve access across the railway, upgrading older stations and ensuring all new ones are fully accessible.”