Business chiefs call for new rail station on city outskirts
BUSINESS chiefs today called for a major railway station to be built on the outskirts of Edinburgh following the collapse of proposals to redevelop Waverley.
The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said it was "scandalous" that no funds have been released by the Scottish Executive for a massive overhaul of Waverley. Now, however, they said new approaches to the city's and Scotland's transport problems should be considered.
The possibility of creating a "Parkway" station - a second main railway station on the outskirts of the city - should be investigated. A similar two-station system has been successfully developed in Bristol.
The new station could be built on existing mainline rail routes, to the west of Sighthill or more likely to the east of Newcraighall off the A1, and could include a large car park.
The city council said last week it has "drawn a line" under plans for a 700 million overhaul of Waverley Station, as it has been unable to find a way to secure funding.
After spending more than a year identifying a series of options, councillors are set to formally abandon the proposal this Thursday and instead pursue retail and commercial development on the periphery of the station.
The Chamber of Commerce hopes to present its "parkway" proposal to the Scottish Executive.
Chamber spokesman Graham Bell said: "Why is it that Waverley has to be the one main station in Edinburgh?
"We could have a Parkway station, utilising existing tracks close to Kinnaird Park and Musselburgh, or to the west of Sighthill before Ratho.
"Land prices are much cheaper out there, and there are physical problems with redeveloping in the city centre. A Parkway station could alleviate the existing pressure on Waverley.
Mr Bell also said he believed the major redevelopment of Waverley may not yet be "a dead duck".
"The Waverley redevelopment is vital for the whole of Scotland's transport network and I don't think this is over just yet," he said.
"I think the council's announcement is a provocation to the Executive, because they have been so slow off the blocks."
Bristol Parkway station was built in the 1970s to give the city access to a new rail line. The name "Parkway" has since been applied to other out-of-town stations.
In Edinburgh, the station could be used for a high-speed rail link to England, overcoming obstacles such as how to get more trains through the Waverley valley.
Edinburgh's Tory transport spokesman, Councillor Allan Jackson, said today: "It is very disappointing that it appears the redevelopment is not going ahead. I still hope funds can be found."
Council leader Donald Anderson said a Parkway station could be looked at. "I certainly feel that is worth considering, but we would have to cast a careful eye over the costs," he said.
Transport Scotland, the Executive's national transport agency, stressed that the current ongoing works at Waverley to create more platforms have not been affected by the move, and it believed the scheme would create enough capacity for train services until 2012, not 2020 as the council reported last week.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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