Rail station upgrades a ‘priority’ at 136-year-old Montrose stop

© DC ThomsonMontrose station is in line for improvement.
Montrose station is in line for improvement.

Passenger improvements at the 136-year-old Montrose train station have been made a “priority”.

ScotRail has revealed the contractor will be picked on July 8 and work will begin “as soon as practical”.

Campaigners have been fighting for an upgrade after describing the current layout of the station as “wholly inadequate”.

The Angus stop on the east coast main line has become a “pivotal” station following the introduction of new timetables in December, which made it a changing place for cross-country services.

However, the increase in passengers on the platform led to complaints over outdated facilities at the Victorian station and pressure on rail chiefs for upgrades.

© DC Thomson
Montrose Rail Station.

ScotRail’s Director of Rail Bill Reeve said the project had been delayed because it was initially planned as part of a range of east coast improvements.

It will now be prioritised with a separate tendering process.

Mr Reeve said the focus remains on delivering enhancements to Montrose “to reflect its status as an important interchange station for the region”.

“Transport Scotland and ScotRail have agreed to prioritise Montrose and separate it from the main body of works and progress this as a discreet project.

“Montrose will now have to go through the tender process as a standalone project.

“Deliberation and decisions on tenders will commence week beginning July 8 and works will commence as soon as practical thereafter.”

Improvements will include the full refurbishment of the station toilets, a replacement waiting shelter, an additional ticket machine, more seating, public address system extension and enhancements to CCTV.

North East Scotland Conservative MSP Liam Kerr has been demanding action since January, corresponding with ScotRail, Transport Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary to expedite improvements.

He said: “I had been told that ScotRail’s plans should have been submitted to Transport Scotland last month.

“But I understand some delay was necessary because it was combined with Stonehaven and Inverurie, where upgrading is also needed.

“On behalf of constituents and lots of travellers I have spoken to who use Montrose station, I am please we will get a suite of improvements after a long wait.

“This will make travel more comfortable, and importantly safer.”

Montrose terminal has already benefited from a previous wave of Department for Transport funding, which has paid for two lifts and a footbridge.

The North British, Arbroath and Montrose Railway opened for goods traffic in 1881 and the current station was opened in 1883.

Montrose also played a major part in the so-called ‘Race to the North’ between the companies on the West Coast lines and those on the East Coast which reached a peak in 1895.

The first train to Kinnaber Junction signal box, 38 miles south of Aberdeen, would always win because from thereon, the two routes ran along the same railway.