West Lothian Council has considered a report on 29 March recommending that it supports in principle a bid for funds from the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal to co-invest in a new railway station to serve the growing community of Winchburgh and its surrounds.
Current estimates for a new station on the existing mainline have escalated significantly from before the electrification of the mainline and since. Winchburgh Developments Ltd (WDL) strongly supports the suggestion that uncommitted funds in the City Region Deal for unlocking infrastructure potential should be considered for Winchburgh.
The company, which continues to deliver on the ambitions of the original masterplan for the community, has already worked constructively with the Council and Scottish Government to provide new primary and secondary schools for Winchburgh’s young people.
Chief Executive of WDL John Hamilton said: “We have always wanted a railway station to serve Winchburgh and our commitment to delivering that is as strong as ever. We are already spending £40 million in the coming twelve months on the new motorway junction and other roads infrastructure with no public sector contribution to those costs. The railway station is a regional transport asset and requires a regional planning solution, involving ourselves, West Lothian Council, National Rail and the Scottish Government. The challenge is on a similar scale to that involved in securing the new schools but what that experience shows is that by working together we can achieve success. It’s essential that we see urgent progress on this now before further development impacts on delivery or increases costs.”
The population of Winchburgh could reach 14,000, which is slightly lower than that of Linlithgow. A rail connection is an important part of creating sustainable transport options. The station intended for Winchburgh would have a park & ride facility, which is not available in Linlithgow.
Most, if not all, new railway stations in Scotland have been largely funded by the public sector, recognising the community and environmental benefits that rail travel can bring. WDL would be, to the best of the company’s knowledge, the only private developer to have been asked to fully fund a railway station and motorway junction in Scotland.
The obligation on WDL has always been to explore a business case for a train connection at Winchburgh. As a sign of WDL’s commitment to a station, the proposed change of location for the park & ride site at Winchburgh was done in consultation with Network Rail and is intended to strengthen the case for the railway station.