Campaign calls for railway station in Winchburgh
A campaign has been launched to bring a railway station to Winchburgh, the new town in West Lothian backed by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter.
Winchburgh has already benefited from more than £50 million of private investment in transport infrastructure and connectivity, but has long demanded being on the rail map.
Research shows a rail link would serve a wider catchment of about 27,000 people – more than double the projected population of Winchburgh. – and eliminate an estimated 1,658 car journeys per day or 419,490 every year.
The research is contained in a report by Systra, commissioned by Winchburgh Developments, a joint venture between Sir Tom’s West Coast Capital and CALA Homes.
A new train station has been a key feature of the Winchburgh masterplan since planning permission in principle was awarded in 2012. Discussions on a new station have been ongoing between developers, Network Rail, Scotrail, Transport Scotland and other key stakeholders. It is hoped that the new campaign will galvanise community support and lead to progress.
Winchburgh Developments has called on the Scottish Government to establish a working group and set a date for the opening of a new station.
John Hamilton, chief executive of Winchburgh Developments, said: “A new train station requires multiple partners to come together to make it work and ultimately it can only proceed with a decision by Transport Scotland, Network Rail and other public sector agencies.
“This report demonstrates that a new rail connection for Winchburgh would bring significant economic and environmental benefits to the local community and the wider Lothian region. In recent years, we have seen many communities across Scotland benefit from new rail connections – now, it’s Winchburgh’s turn.”
He said Winchburgh Developments has already invested more than £50m in transport upgrades, with no public sector contribution to those costs.
“We have always been ready to invest private sector funds in a station if a way forward can be agreed with the public sector,” he said.
“We have an opportunity to make real progress, and we are asking the Scottish Government to convene a working group of the public and private sector stakeholders who can deliver a new station for Winchburgh.
“To set a date for opening of a new station at Winchburgh would focus minds on realising the significant economic and environmental benefits that a rail connection will deliver.”
As part of the campaign, the local community are being asked to show their support for a new train station in a letter writing campaign to local MSPs.
The campaign has received cross-party support from local councillors, and from the wider community.