On track for full access at Burntisland station

Lizzie Cass-Maran at the station with daughter Dora (22 months).  Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Lizzie Cass-Maran at the station with daughter Dora (22 months). Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Burntisland train commuters may soon be one stop nearer to getting full disabled access for their railway station.

The planned opening of new disabled-friendly play equipment on the town’s Links this summer, coupled with a major consultation exercise calling for improvements to access at the station, will help the town’s push for a ramp or lift on the northbound side of the station.

And the move will be welcomed by Burntisland residents with mobility issues as well as mums with buggies and cyclists who have been trying for years to have the station upgraded.

Lizzie Cass-Maran (34), who lives in the town, was recently forced to use a wheelchair due to a severe back problem which also affects her legs and means she is unable to drive.

“I have a young daughter and was finding it really difficult to get around, so I got the wheelchair and decided to take her on a day out in Edinburgh. However when I got to the station we realised that, while you can get up the ramp on the platform to go to Edinburgh, if you got off at Burntisland on the way home you would be stranded as you can’t get up the steps.

“I made enquiries and discovered that you can either get off at Aberdour and take a taxi, or go on to Kirkcaldy and get another train back to Burntisland, both of which are a bit of a hassle.

“I didn’t know what time I was coming back, so couldn’t book a taxi until I got to the station, so had to hang around waiting for it to come with a toddler, which is not ideal. You can’t always plan ahead.

“The lack of disabled access is not widely publicised and I am sure some people have found themselves stuck on the platform in the past.“

Benjamin Barron of Burntisland Community Council said the issue had been looked at two years ago, but Network Rail said lack of footfall at the station meant it didn’t qualify for funding.

“We were told they wouldn’t do anything before the east coast line is electrified, which could be 2043. However it has come up a lot in the Community Futures survey, which gives us more weight behind our argument for action.”

Alex MacDonald, chairman, said he was hopeful something could be done within five years.

“The new disabled playpark should be up and running by summer, which should attract a broader spectrum of families to the town and the issue of access came up high in the list of priorities in the public consultation which was done last year. Both of these should give us a bit of extra leverage to press the rail authorities to take action.

“It won’t be an instant solution, but it could be part of a number of projects starting to come together.”