Rail station plan for West Lothian village backed by developers cash

Winchburgh[1] developers want to put cash towards a railway station for the village instead of more road development on the A89 corridor. They have applied to West Lothian Council to switch their infrastructure contribution - known as Section 75 payments - of around GBP800,000 in a bid to push Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government to agree to fund the building of a new station. Holyrood has argued that Winchburgh Developments Ltd (WDL) has yet to make a business case for a new station to be opened.

The developers claim they already have done so, even though it is not down to them as the developers to do so. A local councillor said it was imperative that the Scottish Government fund a railway station for the village "without further delay." Last year WDL published research which showed that a station could take up to 500,000 car journeys a year off the roads into Edinburgh.

WDL has also set aside a parcel of land to develop park and ride facilities in the rapidly growing village. A re-opened station was always part of the masterplan for the development which will eventually see almost 4,000 homes . Winchburgh remains on rail timetables though trains cannot stop.

A new station could cost up to GBP20m. In August John Hamilton, the chief executive of WDL, said that a railway station in Winchburgh would ensure the country would take a "giant leap" towards its net-zero emissions goal. This week a spokesperson for WDL said that more than 100 letters of support have backed the bid to move Section 75 funding to the railway over road improvement.

Last week West Lothian Council held a meeting between Transport Scotland, Winchburgh Developments, Network Rail and the Scottish Government's Minister for Agriculture and Connectivity to discuss how a station in Winchburgh can be delivered as quickly as possible. That meeting followed a protest which saw campaigners go to Holyrood to press their case for the station and highlight the work already done tio infrastructure, including WDL contributions to improve the road network. Depute Council Leader Kirsteen Sullivan, who chaired last week's meeting, said: "We share the frustration felt by many local residents and we have consistently supported the creation of a new Winchburgh railway station, but it is outwith the remit of a local authority to deliver railway stations.

"Transport Scotland and Network Rail are critical to the delivery of the station and that is why we sought to facilitate a meeting between them, the Minister and other key partners to discuss a way forward. "It's vital that Transport Scotland promotes the delivery of the station in order to progress to the next step and that they work with key delivery partners to deliver the station as quickly as possible. "Winchburgh is a core development area and delivering a new station, as planned, would improve public transport links for the expanding village, providing better opportunities for accessing work, services and leisure."

She added: "Transport Scotland advised us that no complete Business Plan or Design is in place for the station. This was new information and we were disappointed to hear that these obstacles still exist, in addition to there being no funding solution in place. "It had been our understanding that some of those obstacles had been overcome.

"We have invited the Minister, in consultation with the lead developer, to examine how the necessary funding can be secured. "The lead developer has indicated that they would be willing to partially fund a train station and we have put forward the case for the Scottish Government to utilise funding identified in the City Region Deal as one potential solution to fund any remaining deficit, but there may well be other options available to the Government. "We have asked the Scottish Government to consider all potential options and meet with us and key partners again in six weeks in an effort to help progress the development of a station in Winchburgh."

Local Conservative councillor Angela Doran-Timson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "I would like to see the funding from WDL that's intended for the road development be transferred to help fund the Winchburgh station. "However, it is imperative that the SNP Scottish Government and Transport Scotland fund the development of the Winchburgh train station and do so without any further delay." A spokesperson for Transport Scotland told the LDRS: " We welcomed the opportunity to meet developers, and campaigners for a constructive discussion on this matter.

"The Minister also indicated he is keen to convene a further meeting and a site visit in the coming weeks to ensure continued progress of the station proposal is made.

It is clear there is keen interest to build a station at Winchburgh, however a number of issues require detailed investigation before any further comment could be made."

Sign up to Edinburgh Live[3] newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox


  1. ^ Winchburgh (www.edinburghlive.co.uk)
  2. ^ Unemployment in West Lothian bucks the trend as jobless figures fall (www.edinburghlive.co.uk)
  3. ^ Edinburgh Live (data.reachplc.com)