A NEW £200k cycle lane through Gourock Railway Station has been opened by Scottish Government minister Patrick Harvie MSP.

He visited the station to officially open the new 'active travel' link which means that walkers, wheelers and cyclists can now stay on track along the waterfront without having to veer off course.

The minister met the council's environment and regeneration convener Councillor Michael McCormick, as well as representatives from the various partners involved in the project.

Greenock Telegraph:

It was funded by the Scottish Government and designed and delivered through a partnership between Inverclyde Council and Sustrans, with support from Network Rail, ScotRail and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL).

Work began on the £196,000 route in late January and it is now completed and open to the public.

The project has realigned the National Cycle Route 75 which was previously interrupted by the station. The new path is separated from the main station concourse by glass panels to avoid any conflict with other station users.

This allows walkers, wheelers and cyclists to either continue on their journey through the station or connect to onward travel by train or ferry.

Cllr McCormick said: “This active travel route is fantastic news for everyone who wants to discover more of Inverclyde’s wonderful coastline.

“Previously anyone using the NCR75 had to dismount to go through the train station but now they can continue through and it doesn’t impact on station users.

“I commend everyone involved in this project and am glad to see it up and running and delivered on schedule.”

Minister for active travel Mr Harvie added: “The realignment work makes it easier for people to choose active travel locally, or to integrate cycling as part of wider public transport journeys."

Existing glass barriers have been extended to create the route and access gates will be opened and closed in line with the station’s opening hours.

Inverclyde’s sports and healthy lifestyles champion, Councillor Sandra Reynolds, said: “This is an extremely useful use of this space in the station.

“We want to encourage more active travel across Inverclyde with connections to transport links being used by commuters and this path can only help with that."

Karen McGregor, director at Sustrans Scotland, added: “We hope the improved connection between local active travel routes and public transport hubs will encourage more residents and visitors to the area to leave the car at home.”

Graeme McGinty, senior project manager from CMAL, hopes there will be a spin-off from the new route.

He said: “With the route connecting to the harbour, we hope it encourages more visitors to explore Inverclyde.”

James Ledgerwood, ScotRail's head of economic and community development, said they were 'delighted' to support the project.

He added: “This shared path will enable everyone, whether cycling, wheeling or walking, to benefit from a dedicated travel link, facilitating an improved interchange for customers using ScotRail services from Gourock station.”

Brian Maley, project manager at Network Rail, said: “Rail remains one of the greenest forms of public transport and hope this upgrade will encourage even more people to make the switch to active travel to and from our stations.”

Dagmar Lages from the Inverclyde Bothy (Cycling UK), which is based at Gourock train station and encourages active travel in the area, added: “We are excited to see the opening of this new piece of segregated infrastructure which links up a gap in the NCN75 route as well as providing better links to public transport."