Green MSP Ross Greer: New Allander train station still in the offing

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Green MSP Ross Greer has thanked East Dunbartonshire Council for keeping a new station between Milngavie and Hillfoot on the table in its latest draft transport strategy.

But he urged the council to rethink a Bearsden ‘loop bus’ which has been dropped.

The Greens are part of an ongoing local campaign to have the Westerton to Milngavie line re-dualled. Without this, they say, an Allander station would be impossible.

An Allander station has long been floated as a way to relieve congestion on local roads and to provide better public transport access for people living in the area around the leisure centre.

In 2018, Mr Greer commissioned a report from David Prescott of AllanRail Consultancy, which concluded the only way to achieve a major improvement to punctuality on the line – frequently the worst performing in Scotland – was to re-dual the single track sections.

This, he said, would also enable the construction of the long proposed Allander station. He said without re-dualling, this would be close to impossible.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s previous consultation listed the Allander Station as “not taken forward as preferred or (as an) alternative”.

While the other projects in that category – such as a Bearsden loop bus – have been completely “sifted out” of the Draft Transport Strategy, Allander Station has been put back into the strategy as a long-term aspiration.

This follows Ross Greer and rail campaign group Railfuture Scotland challenging the evidence used to reject taking the Allander project forward in the previous consultation.

Mr Greer said while there had been a slight improvement in the number of trains arriving on time in recent months, Scotrail’s latest figures show Westerton to Milngavie once again the worst performing line in Scotland, with fewer than one in every three trains arriving in Milngavie on time.

Mr Greer said: “It’s a great shame the loop bus idea has been dropped and I urge the council to reconsider this, but I’m delighted to see the Allander Station being quietly put back on the drawing board, adding to the council’s existing support for re-dualling the line.

“My report last year makes it absolutely clear that redualling and the new station need to go hand-in-hand.

“I’ve repeatedly lobbied the Scottish Government and Network Rail for this since I was elected and I’ve been repeatedly told they’re trying all the easier options first, such as extending the platform at Westerton and using the second platform at Milngavie.

“After all of this, the annual arrival statistics are barely better than what we’d expect for the year after the ‘Beast From The East’ dramatically lowered performance.

“Local residents are sick of the Scottish Government fobbing them off and having SNP politicians tell us all 
everything is fine.

“It’s time they all saw the writing on the wall and got behind the campaign to re-dual the line and build the Allander station.”