SNP backs Tories over abandoned Edinburgh rail project – John McLellan

Michael Matheson has approved preliminary work on the 'Almond Chord' project. Picture: John Devlin
Michael Matheson has approved preliminary work on the 'Almond Chord' project. Picture: John Devlin
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We can’t claim all the credit, but we did our bit. In May, the Conservative group put a motion to Edinburgh Council calling for the administration to ask the Scottish Government to include the so-called “Almond Chord” rail project it abandoned in 2012 in its transport review.

As this column has previously outlined, it involves a relatively short length of new track on land already owned by Network Rail to link the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line with the route through the little-used Edinburgh Gateway station.

Somewhat grudgingly the council administration agreed, and now the Scottish Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, has approved preliminary work on the project, officially known as the Edinburgh Waverley Western Approaches, costing £15m.

READ MORE: New Edinburgh Waverley rail link to cut disruption

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It will provide an accurate picture of costs and benefits of a scheme which will significantly increase the capacity and flexibility for services between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling and minimise disruption if services are running late.

It could also lead to the establishment of a station in Winchburgh, where 5,000 new homes are set to be built as part of the Edinburgh City region deal.

“With Edinburgh being a key economic driver for the country, a reliable train service is essential for commuter and business travel,” said Mr Matheson.

“One of the key aims of the Edinburgh Waverley Western Approaches project is to provide additional capacity to reduce these constraints, improve performance and give greater resilience across the railway.”

We’re delighted you agree with us, Mr Mathieson.