FEARS that Winchburgh train station is no longer on track were fuelled after a recent debate on planned major rail improvements.
A Scottish Government debate on £350m cuts to the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Plan (EGIP) last week caused concern that the proposed cutting of the Dalmeny Chord section means a Winchburgh station could now be offline.
Last April, West Lothian Council approved plans in principal for 3,450 homes, as well as a new town centre with retail and leisure facilities for Winchburgh. Alongside the £1bn development were proposed transportation improvements including a Winchburgh train station.
This week, local MSP Neil Findlay said: “This is a potentially devastating blow to the development at Winchburgh, cutting £350m from capital investment is not the way you go to help develop the local or national economy. I do worry that the Winchburgh development will now be detrimentally impacted upon by this decision.”
But an EGIP spokesperson insisted no stations had been scrapped from the original plans and Winchburgh had never been within their scope. Rather it created an opportunity for others.
He added: “There is an opportunity for other agencies to work up a proposal for Winchburgh, but this rests on those promoting the project.”
Sigma Capital Group are development managers of the £1bn Winchburgh project, and they would fund the new train station.
Gwynn Thomson of Sigma said: “The Winchburgh train station is still in our plan, but this is not in our control. It is unclear at this time how these cuts will affect us. We are very pro this happening but we are subject to Transport Scotland giving the consent.
“Winchburgh was considered one of the two areas in Scotland where a new station would be viable, and with the EGIP works close by, it could work well, but this is ongoing.”
Locals have long had the train station in their sights.
Mary Miller, secretary of Winchburgh Community Council, said: “Locals have been led to believe for eight years that there will be a station at Winchburgh as part of the development plans.”
Linlithgow resident Dave du Feu is concerned about extra traffic and lack of parking in Linlithgow if the Winchburgh train station does not go ahead.
He said: “With around 3,000 homes being built in Winchburgh, a lot of people will work in Glasgow or Stirling, which means a lot will park in Linlithgow to get the train. There will be even more traffic and clogging up of roads.
“Last year it seemed definite, now it seems it may not be possible.”
But the final say rests with Transport Scotland (TS), the Scottish Government agency responsible for Scotland’s transport infrastructure.
A TS spokesperson said: “A decision on whether a new railway station can be built at Winchburgh will only be made once an appraisal and business case have been submitted by the applicant and agreed by the planning authority, in consultation with Transport Scotland.”