Motherwell and Wishaw Constituency Labour Party have launched a petition against the feared closure of Airbles Station.
Labour politicians have told the Times & Speaker of their outrage that Transport Scotland’s Rail 2014 consultation could threaten one of Motherwell’s stations.
Transport Minister Keith Brown has claimed he has no plans to close stations, however Labour politicians remain unconvinced after Airbles appeared on a list of 14 stations which showed their nearest alternative stations.
The petition has been organised by constituency party chairman Gary O’Rorke and Motherwell West councillor Paul Kelly.
Mr O’Rorke, who is standing in the Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig ward in May’s North Lanarkshire Council election, said: “Due to the reports in the Times I hope everyone is probably now aware that there is a possibility of Airbles Station in Motherwell being closed.
“This I feel is a shocking suggestion as this station is used by thousands upon thousands of people annually, not only by the people who reside in the area in which the station is located, but also the many thousands of people who travel to this side of Motherwell on a daily and weekly basis.
“Many people travel to this part of Motherwell to work in the likes of the pension and call centres in Airbles Road, as well as many other places.
“Many more visit Motherwell via this station for football matches at Fir Park, not to mention the many people who use this station to visit family and friends, some of whom are elderly.
“Therefore any suggestion that this station will be closed must be resisted. The folly of this station closing will result in more traffic in already busy roads taking people to the centre of Motherwell and many more football supporters having to make their way to and from the town centre up to Fir Park.
“There is also the substantial daily inconvenience of people having to walk considerable distances, sometimes in horrendous weather, to get to the central Motherwell station to and from their way to work.
“For the elderly or infirm who may be on lower incomes and cannot afford a taxi to the town centre in order to visit family and friends or have a day out, then these people will have no option but to stay at home which will result in a lesser quality of life.”
“It’s vital that we oppose this proposal and since the petition was launched we already had have many signatures online.
“The opposition to this proposed closure locally is very strong. Local people want their station to remain and the message is loud and clear.”
Councillor Kelly added: “The Transport Minister should come and see for himself the very strong opposition to the proposed closure and just how vital the station is for local residents.
“Its easy to make these decisions sitting at your desk in Edinburgh, but he should listen to the very clear message from Motherwell people - keep Airbles Station open!”
Mr O’Rorke and Councillor Kelly were joined by Labour councillors Michael Ross, Tom Lunny and Kaye Harmon for the launch of the petition at Airbles Station on Friday morning.
The Times & Speaker asked some of the commuters for their opinion regarding the threat to the station.
Stuart Dick said: “I very much think Airbles Station should remain open. It’s handy in the morning especially as Motherwell Station is far too busy as it is and you’ve got to keep local services.”
Melanie Wright said: “I live nearby and if Airbles Station were to close it would really upset me as you can’t even get a bus to Hamilton either so I just really hope we can do something.”
Graham Buckley said: “I think this station is important because there is a growing number of people coming here and with the increase in local developments there is going to be more and more need for it.”
Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland has been asked to present the petition to Mr Brown.
He said: “Over 100,000 journeys a year start or end at Airbles. Closure would disrupt those journeys, putting more cars on our roads and put more pressure on other public transport.
“At a time when we should be expanding public transport to help meet climate change targets, this would be a backwards step.
“I hope everyone who values the station will make their support clear by responding to the consultation and signing the petition that has been organised to help protect what is already there.”
To sign the petition Airbles Station petition