Cash windfall for joined up journeys in Linlithgow

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Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council has triumphed to the tune of £27,000 after netting a coveted transport grant.

The result is thought to be especially impressive as the organisation is the only community group in the area to benefit from a £681,000 funding pot gifted to 10 organisations across the country.

Other successful community applications were believed to have the backing of established rail campaign groups but the bold Linlithgow bid was launched purely on its own steam.

The welcome cash from the Local Rail Development Fund will allow members to increase better bus connections to Linlithgow from surrounding towns and villages.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson MSP said: “Providing funding for transport appraisals like this one will allow the successful applicants to consider the transport issues and opportunities affecting their local communities. It has been great to hear, first-hand, the enthusiasm and drive behind them.

“Helping communities bring forward proposals to tackle these specific, local rail connectivity issues, will allow us to consider potential projects as part of our plans for future railway investment.”

Community council chairman Martin Crook said: “We are obviously absolutely delighted but we are also aware that this is a big challenge.

“Our motivations are to work with West Lothian Council, the bus operators and the community to ensure the survival of the vital bus services in and around Linlithgow.

“We intend to partner with these same groups to develop services to better connect Linlithgow and reduce the reliance on local government subsidies.

“We believe with better marketing, route planning and scheduling, it should be possible to operator the L1 bus, in particular, on a more commercial. This funding will help primarily with the second of these goals.

“It will help the community council start the process of making bus services to Linlithgow station better.

“As bus services have declined the people who used to rely on them now often drive, clogging up car parks and the town centre.

“It is a great chance for more communities to benefit from the expansion of the rail service capacity.”