Planned investment in a new footbridge at Elgin railway station could lead to greater investment opportunities in the area.
That is the views being expressed by local politicians after Transport Scotland confirmed that early stages of planning an design are now under way in conjunction with Network Rail.
As part of a programme of planned improvements on the Aberdeen to Inverness line, Elgin Station will be upgraded – and that will include a new footbridge, with investigations taking place into where the new bridge might be positioned.
The current link over the line leads to what Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead is describing as a “no man’s land” given people arriving in Elgin a poor image of the city.
“In recent weeks I have met with Elgin Community Council who have long been campaigning for road and rail improvements,” Mr Lochhead said, adding: “The confirmation of design work on the new pedestrian bridge at the station will be a boost for efforts in this area.
“All of this has the potential to help focus on further improvements around the station.”
SNP councillor for the Elgin South ward, Graham Leadbitter, said that the issue over the condition and ownership of land to the south of the station has been raised repeatedly – but it has proven difficult to know who owns the land.
He said: “The investment in a new pedestrian bridge should mean that far more people will be using the area, and that in turn should make it a more attractive area to develop.
“Sadly at the moment it is a really poor excuse for a gateway to Elgin – we deserve to be seen in a far better light by rail passengers and others.”
Earlier this year the Scottish Government confirmed a £170million investment on the Aberdeen to Inverness route. That will include platform extensions at Elgin to allow six-coach trains, while the station at Forres will be relocated with a ‘loop’ extension added to the track.