EFFORTS to end the long-running issue of disabled access for Clacks commuters heading into Stirling are finally underway, Network Rail has confirmed.

Transport chiefs have confirmed that improvements are ongoing at Platform 9 Stirling train station – which will come as a relief to Wee County passengers with mobility issues.

The accessibility of Platform 9 has been a long-running issue with groups in Alloa, including the community council.

Currently the only way to reach the main station concourse from Platform 9 is via stairs and a footbridge.

Trains travelling into the city from Alloa often stop at Platform 9, and in the past wheelchair users, people with crutches or parents with prams had found themselves trapped, relying on members of the public to help them up the staircase.

However, a breakthrough was made late last year when planning permission was lodged with the council.

That solution comes in the form of a footbridge which will give many people, including the disabled and people with prams, full access to the platform which often hosts trains going to and from Alloa.

However, Network Rail has also warned that there will be disruption in the coming months as they step up their revamp of the historic station.

A spokeswoman told the Advertiser: “We’re currently drawing up plans to convert the existing lattice footbridge on Platform 6/9 into a fully accessible structure; this retains the heritage elements of the footbridge and station whilst ensuring Stirling Station is fit for the future.

“A temporary stepped footbridge will be in use for around six months while the existing footbridge is taken away for repair and modification.

“The planning application for the platform six/nine footbridge is likely to be submitted shortly.

“All of the dates and information above are indicative; timescales for the work are subject to securing the required permissions.”

She added: “The Platform 2/3 footbridge was jacked up successfully at Christmas, with temporary steps, ramps and handrails installed until full repair and refurbishment works are completed.

“For a short period in the summer months there may be some disruption to the platforms 2 and 3 lifts whilst the internal equipment is renewed; the precise dates and nature of this disruption will be confirmed to customers in due course.

“We will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this essential work is undertaken.”

When the news of the breakthrough was announced back in December, it was met with much delight by all who had worked hard to get to this point.

Alexander Stewart MSP told the Advertiser: “As far as this news goes, I am delighted we finally have some movement. The community and the community council for years have been doing their best to get this up the agenda.

“The Scottish Government has been dragging its heels with this issue. I have been meeting the transport minister [Humza Yousaf] for the last 18 months with Cameron Little of the community council to fight for this.

“I am delighted to finally get this done. The lack of accessibility at the station is totally unacceptable. I am determined to make this dream a reality.”