Transport Secretary announces Local Rail Development Fund grants of £817k

Eight communities across Scotland are set to benefit from a share of the Local Rail Development Fund (LRDF) as confirmed by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson.

The Cabinet Secretary made the announcement during a visit to see progress at the £14.5m Kintore station site, which is being progressed by Transport Scotland and Network Rail, in partnership with Nestrans and Aberdeenshire Council. The station project forms part of the wider £330m Aberdeen – Inverness Improvements project, the latest phase of which has seen the line between Aberdeen and Inverurie double tracked.

LRDF supports local and regional initiatives through grants to fund appraisal work; this will help applicants develop an evidence base for potential improvements. The Cabinet Secretary was joined in Kintore by Nestrans who have secured funding to take forward appraisal work for a project which explores cross-Aberdeen rail travel.

Mr Matheson said: “Since 2007, we have demonstrated our commitment to Scotland’s railway by investing around £8bn in rail services and infrastructure. Future investment partly relies on local communities embracing the potential it offers and, in turn, bringing forward new ideas.

“We know that the costs of transport appraisal can be a significant barrier, but appraisals are a fundamental evidence-gathering step when considering transport issues and opportunities. The Local Rail Development Fund responds to this by providing practical help for local stakeholders and I am pleased that the Fund remains popular with those looking to secure local benefits.

“This visit to the Kintore station site today allows me to see at first hand progress on this project and the latest phase of the double tracking that is fundamental to the overall Aberdeen – Inverness Improvement programme. This is a fitting setting to announce the latest round of Local Rail Development Fund awards.”

Dr Margaret Bochel, Nestrans Vice-Chair welcomed the announcement of the funding. She said: “The recent investment in dualling the majority of the line between Inverurie and Aberdeen has provided the opportunity for enhanced local rail service, and significant increase in rail capacity. This grant will give Nestrans and partners the opportunity to consider whether further rail stations would enhance this local rail service. Our work at Kintore has proved a successful model of regional partnership working with Transport Scotland, Network Rail, and ScotRail, and we hope that we’ll be able to continue this positive relationship with this next piece of work”

The LRDF has attracted strong interest, with the most recent eight awards bringing the total amount allocated to around £1.5m of an available £2m funding pot. The potential elements that will be considered as part of these appraisals are:

  • Access to Dunblane Station – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around access to Dunblane Station (Dunblane Community Council)
  • East Lothian Access Study – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in East Lothian (additional funding awarded for this application which was successful in the initial round of the fund) (East Lothian Council)
  • HMNB Clyde Transport Opportunities – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Helensburgh area (additional funding awarded for this application which was successful in the initial round of the fund) (Hitrans)
  • Cross Aberdeen travel – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Aberdeen area (Nestrans)
  • Sustainable options for growth at the Port of Leith – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around the Port of Leith (SESTrans)
  • St Andrews – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around St Andrews (additional funding awarded for this application which was successful in the initial round of the fund) (StARlink)
  • Accessibility at Kirkconnel Station – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around access to Kirkconnel Station (Swestrans)
  • Tay Cities Park & Choose Strategy – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities along the Perth-Montrose rail corridor (Tactran)

This follows on from round one awards which saw 10 projects share just under £700,000 of funding:

  • Haddington – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Haddington area (East Lothian Council)
  • Cross Forth Travel – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Fife and wider travel area (Fife Council)
  • HMNB Clyde Transport Opportunities – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Helensburgh area (Hitrans)
  • Access to Linlithgow Station – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around access to Linlithgow Station (Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Councils)
  • Accessibility at Insch Station – transport appraisal to assess options to improve accessibility at the station (Nestrans)
  • Newburgh – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Newburgh area (Newburgh Train Station Group)
  • St Andrews – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around St Andrews (StARLink)
  • Connectivity in Clydesdale – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Clydesdale corridor (South Lanarkshire Council)
  • Bridge of Earn/Oudenarde P&R – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities from and within Bridge of Earn and between South/West Perth, Fife and Edinburgh (Tactran)
  • Stirling Strategic P&R – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around Stirling (Tactran)

Amount awarded in 2018 Round 1:                                              £681,000

Total awarded to date (2018 and 2019 Rounds 1 & 2):            £1.498,000