JOHNSTONE train station is set to become fully accessible for the first time, with plans in place for a new footbridge.

Network Rail has submitted proposals for the bridge, which will include two lifts, meaning there will be step-free access to both platforms.

At the moment, there is no easy way for disabled people to get between the platforms, as the footbridge is only reachable via two long flights of stairs.

Once planning permission is granted, it is anticipated work will take around 10 months to complete, with the bridge open in late summer next year.

Councillor Andy Steel, who represents Johnstone South, has welcomed the move.

He said: “I’m pleased to see this work proposed for Johnstone station.

“I can remember when the present bridge was installed, back in the last century, so it’s certainly time for a replacement.

“Getting lifts as part of this would be a real bonus, clearly for those with mobility issues but also for those of us beginning to creak a bit and those struggling along with three suitcases, not fancying the stairs one bit.

“Network Rail has kept residents well informed about the plans and I am sure will keep disturbances to a minimum. For something this positive, which will hopefully encourage rail use, it’d be worth it.”

The Gazette: What the new bridge at Johnstone station could look likeWhat the new bridge at Johnstone station could look like

The project forms part of the UK Government’s Access For All programme, which was launched in 2006 to address issues faced by disabled passengers when using train stations.

Johnstone’s other station, Milliken Park, already has step-free access to both platforms but other stops along the same line, such as Lochwinnoch and Howwood, still have stairs for passengers to contend with.

Councillors have long fought for work to be carried out at Lochwinnoch station, where there is no disabled access to platform two.

Councillor Derek Bibby, who represents Johnstone North, Howwood, Lochwinnoch and Kilbarchan, said: “This is positive news for Johnstone station.

“I would still like to see the same thing happen at Lochwinnoch and Howwood at some point down the line so we can make all the destinations on that route accessible.”

Network Rail has said a temporary pedestrian bridge will be put in place at Johnstone station while construction work is carried out.

A spokesman added: “The new bridge will deliver modern access standards for all customers at Johnstone station.

“The new bridge and lifts will help everyone in the community access rail services more easily and delivering step-free access at stations is an important part of improving the overall experience of travelling on Scotland’s railway.”