Rail station bid looks to have hit the buffers until 2019

Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf
Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf

The campaign to bring a railway station to Bonnybridge has suffered a setback as Scotland’s transport minister could not guarantee government support.

Falkirk Council leader Craig Martin wrote to Humza Yousaf earlier this year on behalf of the local authority, regarding the possibility of Scottish Government support for the long sought after rail station.

Unfortunately, Mr Yousaf’s reply was not very positive.

He stated the government was not in a position to give any details of future investment strategy for the rail network until at least 2019. He added Transport Scotland was currently consulting on the government’s approach to investment, with one of the proposals being a “pipeline” system to progress future rail enhancement projects.

Mr Yousaf said: “This approach will enable scheme promoters to investigate and develop potential enhancement schemes in a considered and rigorous manner without the pressure to meet an arbitrary deadline set by the timescales in the wider rail planning process.

“It is imperative we do not commit substantial funds to projects until we are clear on all the costs and outcomes that schemes will deliver.”

He advised that a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) report is required to identify if a scheme is viable.

“If the STAG finds a railway station is the most appropriate transport solution, then an application could be made to the £30 million Scottish Stations Fund.”