£41m Edinburgh station branded a flop after passenger shortfall

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Edinburgh Gateway station has been branded a flop after it attracted less than half of the estimated users in its first full year.

The station, which is one of Scotland’s newest railway stations after it opened in December 2016, fell short of their passenger estimation.

Costing almost double the initial budget at £41 million, Edinburgh Gateway attracted just 230,000 passengers, in contrast to estimates that it would serve 500,000 each year.

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Initially seen as a connection from Glasgow to Edinburgh train line, the decision to drop the proposals has been seen as the reason for its poor performance.

Funded by taxpayers, the station is excluded from the ScotRail agreement with Abellio meaning taxpayers also pay for its staff.

Edinburgh Gateway station at Gogarburn is falling short of expectations. Picturel Greg Macvean

Edinburgh Gateway station at Gogarburn is falling short of expectations. Picturel Greg Macvean

According to Transport Scotland, the station is manned between 5.50am and 11.30pm every day, with automatic gates also monitored.

Figures show that around 4,790 passengers pass through the station every week on average.

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Mike Rumbles MSP said the Government’s said that there was no business case for the station.

Spekaing to The Herald he said: “These figures show that Edinburgh Gateway is sitting lonely and underused.

The Edinburgh Gateway station was funded by the taxpayer.

The Edinburgh Gateway station was funded by the taxpayer.

“Liberal Democrats warned that it would have been better to build a proper airport station, instead we now have a vastly over-budget station with poor connections.”

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Greene called on the Government to take full responsibility for its “wildly wrong” projections.

He said: “The SNP Government planned this project and spent a significant amount of taxpayers’ money on it.

READ MORE: £41m Edinburgh Gateway attracts third of expected passengers

“It must take full responsibility for these failings, and explain why these projections were so wildly wrong.

“What’s more, the money spent on this initiative was far in excess of what was initially pledged.

“Commuters are fed up of a rail service which is too often over-priced and unreliable. Mistakes like this only exacerbate the situation.”

Paul Tetlaw of Transform Scotland said that upcoming development in the surrounding area offered a “significant potential for passengers”.

He added: “Opposition politicians would be better focusing their attention on the Government’s massive road building programme, rather than one single station.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Ministers are committed to increasing rail as a regular travel choice and we work with ScotRail to encourage passenger growth.

“While these figures are lower than initial estimates for Edinburgh Gateway Station, future growth is expected as housing and business developments take shape in the local area.”