WALKERS, wheelers and cyclists will be able to stay on track as they travel through Gourock railway station thanks to the creation of a new active travel route worth almost £200k.

Funding from the Scottish Government, administered through Sustrans, together with partners Inverclyde Council, Network Rail and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has paved the way for a new segregated route for walking, wheeling, and cycling to be built through the busy station.

The new path will be separated from the main concourse by glass panels, allowing walkers, wheelers and cyclists to either continue on their journey through the station or connect to a train or ferry.

The £190,000 project will extend the National Cycle Network Route 75, which is currently interrupted by the station.

Council environment and regeneration convener Councillor Michael McCormick said: "This project will provide an important link for the National Cycle Network Route 75 and will allow even more people to fully explore our beautiful Inverclyde coastline.

“Our active travel strategy aims to make cycling a convenient and attractive choice for everyday journeys in Inverclyde and this project shows our commitment to that.”

Inverclyde’s sports and healthy lifestyles champion, Councillor Sandra Reynolds, says she has 'every confidence' the link will be 'well used'.

She said: “Cycling is a growing sport and leisure activity for people across Inverclyde and it’s great to have projects like this to show our commitment to the cycle path network which also aims to support alternative and sustainable travel options."

The existing glass barriers will be extended to create the segregated route, with access points available in the station and at Gourock Ferry Terminal. Additional signage and road markings will also be put in place.

Rhodri Thomas, senior network development manager at Sustrans, said: “We’re pleased to see work starting on this important link along National Cycle Network Route 75 in Gourock, supported by funding from the Scottish Government.

“Improving connections between active travel routes and public transport is an important step into empowering more people to leave the car at home.

“When complete, the segregated shared-use path through Gourock station will make it easier and safer for everyone in Inverclyde to make healthier, happier and more sustainable choices for their everyday journeys.”

Brian Maley, project manager, strategy and investment at Network Rail, added: “We’re thrilled to be playing our part in providing this important link as part of the National Cycle Network Route 75.

“Rail remains one of the greenest forms of transport but we hope this upgrade will encourage even more people to make the switch to active travel to and from our stations.”

Graeme McGinty, senior project manager from CMAL, said: “We look forward to working alongside the partners on this important upgrade to Gourock train station’s facilities.”

Bosses from The Bothy, a Cycling UK project based at Gourock station, believe the new link will get more people on their bikes.

Dagmar Lages, their development officer, said: “This improvement will enable more cyclists and walkers to safely use this route and provide a great connection for everyone to explore the beauty of Inverclyde using the NCN75.”

Work on the route will start today by Story Contracting and it should be finished by the end of March.

The station will be in full operation for the duration of the works as disruption will be kept to a minimum. A section of the Station Road South car park will be allocated to the contractor as a site compound and parking will be restricted within this area.