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14 May 2010

Waverley’s Princes Street Entrance Plans Take The Final Step

Network Rail’s plans to overhaul Waverley Station’s entrance from Princes Street have been given the green light by the Scottish Government.

The proposals will create a new covered step and escalator access between Princes Street and the north entrance to Waverley station as well as lift access from the station to Princes Street via the roof of Princes Mall.

The plans were given final approval as part of a Transport and Works (Scotland) Order by the transport minister in the last few days. This is the first order to be granted under this legislation since it came into effect in December 2007.

The Waverley Steps entrance is now expected to close in early 2011, with work on the escalators and staircase likely to be completed within a year. The lift access will be completed by the end of 2012.

The Waverley Steps improvements are in addition to a £130m Network Rail investment in Waverley to improve the experience of passengers using the station. A repaired and reglazed roof will see natural light stream into the building, while a new step-free access from Market Street will be installed at the south side of the station. Improvements to Platforms 8 and 9, station buildings and platform and concourse surfacing will also help to enhance the Waverley's environment for all users.

Ron McAulay, Network Rail Director, Scotland said:

“It's great news for our customers that we finally have the approval to carry out these vital upgrades to the station. The Waverley Steps project is vital to helping the station become more accessible for everyone.

“The existing steps are impossible to access if you are using a wheelchair, and near impossible with a pram or with a lot of baggage. With around 37% of Waverley’s 24 million annual passengers making use of this entrance, it’s easy to see why we need to make better use of this access point.

“We are now embarking on the biggest enhancement of Waverley Station since the end of the 19th century. We are acutely aware of the demands of passengers and neighbours to keep the station working with as little as noise and disruption as possible while we carry out these exciting improvements and we are confident that careful planning will enable us to do that.”

Mr Stewart Stevenson, Transport Minister, said:

"The Scottish Government is delighted to be funding this programme of works on Waverley Steps, underlining our commitment to improving rail travel experiences across Scotland and encouraging more people to make the switch to a greener, more environmentally friendly mode of transport.

"When completed the project will improve the access to Waverley Station from Princes Street for all users, enabling mobility impaired passengers to access all platforms and station facilities from Princes Street more easily, in turn improving access to train services."

The Waverley Steps scheme gained strong support from the public during public exhibitions of the plans in October 2008. Thousands of visitors viewed the plans, with almost 800 completing a consultation survey. 93% of respondents indicated their support for the design. Network Rail also consulted with local representatives, neighbours, conservation bodies and other special interest groups to create the final design.

Stewart Stevenson
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