Liberal Democrat MSPs for the Northern Isles, Liam McArthur and Beatrice Wishart have written to Abellio about the proposed closure of the left luggage facility at Aberdeen Railway Station.
They are demanding that a workable alternative arrangement is put in place by Abellio before the closure takes place on 12th of October this year.
The closure of the left luggage facility, which it is claimed is little used, is part of an extensive redevelopment of Aberdeen station by Abellio.
Abellio replied to the MSPs that they are exploring the possibility of working with a retailer to provide a left luggage facility as part of the station redevelopment.
Liam McArthur and Beatrice Wishart have called on Abellio to fast track those discussions so that agreement is reached on a proposed alternative before the current facility is removed.
Liam McArthur said:
“Passengers travelling to and from Orkney and Shetland by ferry, rely on the left luggage facility at Aberdeen railway station. The proposed closure will have a disproportionate impact on our constituents, many of whom are not able to carry around large bags and suitcases, while they wait for their ferry or train to depart.
“Since news of Abellio’s plans were revealed, many of those likely to be affected have been in touch to highlight their anger at the decision, which appears to have been taken with little or no consultation.
“Abellio claim they will look to have discussions with local retailers to see if an alternative left luggage service can be put in place. There is no detail of when this might happen or where it would be located. Surely it makes more sense to reach agreement on alternative arrangements before deciding to pull the plug on the current facility.
“Even at this late stage, we hope Abellio will agree to review this decision and take steps to minimise any impact on islanders.”
Northlink Ferries have a left luggage facility at their Aberdeen ferry terminal for passengers who are booked for the same day’s sailing to Orkney /Shetland from 8a.m up until 2 hrs 15 mins before departure.
The Redevelopment of Aberdeen Railway Station
Abellio plan to refurbish the concourse to create space for shops and cafes including new ToGo convenience store kiosks selling newspapers, baked goods, drinks, snacks and a range of other products.
Specialist companies will be engaged to provide new services including left luggage storage space, office facilities and meeting rooms, car hire, and collection points for parcels and online grocery orders.
Further new facilities will include cycle hire, secure cycle storage and staffed travel information desks where passengers can ask for advice about their onward journeys as well as rail travel.
At Aberdeen station, Abellio also see the potential to extend the existing station concourse to provide further shops, a hotel, and a simple pedestrian route to the nearby Union Square shopping mall and bus station.
Readers who travel south by train will have seen redevelopment taking place at Dundee, Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley.
Inverness, Perth and Stirling stations are also to be redeveloped.
As Aberdeen is an important ‘Transit Hub City’ e.g. ferry from North Isles then some hours in City before traveling onwards by Bus, Train and Aeroplane and somewhere are needed centrally for passengers to leave their luggage while they have a few hours shopping without dragging luggage with them. Due to historical fact, the railway was the main ‘long-distance’ means of transport, hence the provision of ‘left-luggage’ facilities but as we know it no longer is but the facility is still required at an affordable price. So, would it not make more sense for this facility to be provided in the Rail and Bus stations complex by these operators plus Aberdeen Airport and the City Council to jointly fund and provide this facility for ALL their passengers?