Commuter call

Rail station in new town could cut 500k car trips

John Hamilton and Pamela Spowart of Winchburgh Developments

Half a million car journeys a year could be removed by building a railway station in a new town near Edinburgh, a report has found.

Providing regular train services for Winchburgh, being developed on the main Edinburgh to Glasgow railway route, could mean 1,658 fewer car journeys every day.

On completion of the Winchburgh masterplan, the village will be developed as a commuter town with an estimated 4,324 homes and a population of over 13,000. Among the new infrastructure is a junction which connects Winchburgh directly to the M9 motorway. However, there is no provision for extra rail services.

The report by engineering consultancy Systra found that because of the motorway connections a rail station would serve a wider regional catchment of about 27,000 people.

This means it could also serve as a park and ride and further reduce traffic on routes around Edinburgh.

Edinburgh and West Lothian councils are engaged in consultation on road transport plans for the west of Edinburgh, between Broxburn and Maybury.

However, Winchburgh Developments says that the consultation offers residents no incentive to take the bus, and does not address the bottleneck at Newbridge roundabout or bus service staffing and reliability.

John Hamilton, chief executive of the property developer Winchburgh Developments, which commissioned the report by engineering consultancy Systra, said: “Removing almost half a million cars from some of the busiest rush-hour corridors in the country represents a significant benefit, not only in terms of speed of travel and convenience to commuters but as a significant step towards Scotland’s net-zero emissions target date of 2045.”

Scott Arthur, Edinburgh council’s transport and environment convener, said: “We’re keen to work with neighbouring local authorities and public transport providers to get people out of their cars and onto trains and buses, so would welcome any development that would support this.”

A West Lothian council spokesman said the council did not have the remit to deliver a railway station, but supports the creation of one at Winchburgh. “Transport Scotland would be ultimately responsible for the delivery of any new railway station in Winchburgh, in conjunction with Network Rail.

“The council remains keen to work with Transport Scotland to ensure delivery of the station, which it considers essential to ensuring sustainable transport opportunities for residents of, and businesses in, the expanded settlement.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said it was supportive of a new station at Winchburgh but that its delivery and funding would be a matter for the developer.

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