SCOTRAIL is trialling a new plan to make Kilwinning's railway station more accessible - but MSP Katy Clark says the measures are inadequate.

The rail operator has put a four-week plan in place that will see the station’s lifts left open for use in the evenings.

This will mean the lifts will be available for use even if staff are not in attendance.

However Ms Cark, who represents the West Scotland region for Labour, says that safe staffing levels must be reintroduced on a permanent basis to solve the station’s accessibility issue.

Ms Clark said: “Kilwinning is the most frequently used station in Ayrshire, yet despite receiving vital funding to make it fully accessible by installing lifts, low staffing levels mean they’re often not useable during the rush hour.

“This disproportionately affects disabled people, the elderly and passengers with young children in prams.

“I welcome that ScotRail intends to trial leaving the lifts open, but a more permanent arrangement is clearly needed.

“This will only be possible via safe staffing levels, which means real investment from the Scottish Government.”

Responding to Ms Clark’s statement, ScotRail said that the station is only “rarely” left unattended – in contrast to the MP’s findings.

Despite this, the company said they will work to make the station accessible.

Patrick Nyamurundira, ScotRail access and inclusion manager, said: “ScotRail is dedicated to making sure that all rail users have equal access, and we’ll continue to work with our stakeholders at all levels to ensure that everyone can travel on Scotland’s Railway with confidence, which includes listening to and acting on feedback.

“It’s rare that the lifts at Kilwinning station are closed, but for a trial period, they will be kept open for customers to use if the station closes early for any reason.”

Transport Scotland also responded to Ms Clark and said they will work with ScotRail to improve the station.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “ScotRail has an established process in place to operate all passenger lifts from the first to last service, including within stations which are unstaffed for all or part of the day.

“We are aware that the availability of lifts is essential to ensure all passengers can access Scotland’s rail services and whilst we acknowledge this four-week trial, we will work closely with ScotRail to ensure the needs of disabled passengers are addressed.”