Commuters urged to get Allander on track

A PRESSURE group is urging people in Bearsden and Milngavie to press the case for an Allander rail halt, with adequate park and ride provision, by responding to the ‘Rail 2014 Public Consultation’ promoted by Transport Scotland.

This consultation, which is open until Monday, February 20, asks for suggestions on where Scotland’s rail network can be improved and extended.

Railfuture Scotland believes that the increasing demand for rail travel, with more conveniently accessed local rail stations, is a major ‘window of opportunity’ to demand Scottish Government action on the long planned Allander rail halt between Milngavie and Hillfoot stations.

Demand will become critical when the Kilmardinny development - which aims to build 550 new homes between Milngavie and Bearsden - goes ahead.

Ken Sutherland, research officer Railfuture Scotland, said that a new Allander rail halt, with adequate park and ride facility, is an integral part of current Transport Policy of East Dunbartonshire Council and is supported by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) .

He said: “The case for an additional rail halt, probably in the vicinity of the Allander Leisure centre, existing and rebuilt, has powerful cross-party political support within East Dunbartonshire Council level and was similarly recognised by the local area MSPs representatives at Holyrood Parliament level.

“Although rail travel is now regarded as an attractive and sustainable alternative to car commuting and urban congestion, the lack of adequate local parking provision is clearly evident here, with station car parks at Milngavie, Hillfoot, Bearsden and Westerton often full to capacity by 7.30am. Parking routinely overflows into adjoining residential areas in Milngavie and Bearsden and along the A81 Milngavie Road at Hillfoot.

“Yet a new Allander rail halt with provision for up to 500 cars would not just satisfy the legitimate needs of peak time commuters into Glasgow and beyond, but also be a key benefit for off-peak travellers who are nonsensically discouraged against using the train at present, by sheer inability to find any available parking place.”

Mr Sutherland acknowledged that the “chaotic absurdity” afflicting Milngavie and Bearsden was symptomatic of a “wider legacy of incoherent and disjointed transport and land-use planning which had handicapped our railways over many decades.” However he believes the ‘Rail 2014 Consultation’ exercise is a “valuable local opportunity to advance the legitimate demand for an Allander rail halt.”

He added: “A large number of responses on this issue, would send a powerful message to Transport Scotland.”

The ‘Rail 2014 Consultation’ is available at www.rail2014@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk