A much-loved Victorian footbridge at Pitlochry railway station looks set to be dismantled and re-erected elsewhere.
Network Rail says it needs to move the A-listed crossing to make way for a wheelchair-accessible replacement.
The plans have angered some locals, who say it will wreck the charm of the tourist town’s award-winning railway station.
But councillors will be asked to agree to the rail operator’s plans when they meet next week.
A report to Perth and Kinross Council’s planning and placemaking committee says Network Rail considered five alternative proposals.
There included a new underpass, served by lifts and ramps at either side, modifying the existing bridge and building the replacement crossing north of the signal box and west of the existing footbridge.
However, none were deemed suitable.
And now Network Rail says it has no option but to remove the bridge.,
The report says: “Network Rail have indicated that it is their intention to carefully dismantle the bridge, with a view of having it removed and made available for re-use off site.
“However a final destination has yet to be determined.”
It goes on: “The existing footbridge would remain, until such time as a contract for replacement bridge (and the dismantling of the existing) has been signed.”
26 objections to Pitlochry station plans
Councillors will be told the Pitlochry scheme is part of a wider project to make the Highland Mainline more accessible to people with disabilities.
Similar works are planned for the stations at Aviemore, Kingussie and Nairn – all of which are also listed buildings.
The report says: “The proposal will assist in making this part of Scotland’s rail network transport more available for everyone, which in turn will offer significant community benefits to both the local and wider community of the area.”
Historic Environment Scotland was quizzed on the Pitlochry proposals
The agency says the existing bridge has architectural merit – but it accepts the
justification for replacing it.
It also acknowledges that Network Rail has changed the design to make it more suitable for its surroundings.
Perth and Kinross Council received 26 objections from the public, most relating to the impact on the station’s listed buildings.
Speaking to The Courier earlier this year, campaigner Sally Spaven said the proposed new crossing was “a monstrosity”.
“If you take away the footbridge you are destroying the ambience of the station,” she said.
Fellow objector Kate Howie, convenor of the Pitlochry Station Liaison Group and treasurer of the Highland Mainline Community Partnership, was among those who suggested siting the new bridge further long the platform.
Pitlochry Railway Station dates back to 1863 and has a grade-A listing throughout.
In 2014 it won a National Railway Heritage Award, a Royal Horticultural Society Award and best station at the ACORP awards.
In 2019 it was named best medium station in the Rail Awards and was highly commended in the same category the following year.