A planning bid by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) is being seen as a key move in an ambitious plan to transform Bo’ness station.
If everything goes to plan the facility - already reckoned a priceless asset by many rail enthusiasts - could be on the way to becoming a premier league visitor attraction within a year.
However the Society itself stresses that while there are always plans in process to improve one of the area’s best-known assets it’s very early days for a scheme whose success depends on several key elements.
Alterations are needed to create new toilets, to cope with an influx of visitors that’s set to keep growing in number, year on year, but beyond that is a grand plan to create what amounts to a major railway heritage feature.
SRPS treasurer David Morrison, stressing that a lot of hard work and fundraising lies ahead. said: “We’re looking at a wider plan which would depend on lottery funding, and funding on that sort of scale tends to be forthcoming if it is supporting an existing project that is well worthwhile.
“We could eventually be looking at something which would allow people of all ages to engage with the age of steam engines in a way that isn’t possible at the moment.”
The SRPS planning bid will aim to carry out changes that are needed to the current facilities anyway, so if major lottery cash is not immediately forthcoming for the wider plan the improvements are still seen as necessary.
But Mr Morrison explains that they will also form part of the necessary infrastructure for a major future project - whose total value could be approaching £2 million.
By this time next year the SRPS could be about to fine-tune the details of what may eventually become one of Scotland’s most exciting and unusual visitor attractions.