Transport Scotland announces £817k Local Rail Development Fund
Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson, has announced eight communities across Scotland are set to benefit from a share of £817,000 through the Local Rail Development Fund (LRDF).
The Scottish transport secretary made the announcement during a visit to the £14.5m Kintore station site, to see the progress being made by Transport Scotland and Network Rail – working in partnership with Nestrans and Aberdeenshire Council.
Kintore station forms part of the wider £330m Aberdeen-Inverness Improvements project, the latest phase of which has seen the line been Aberdeen and Inverurie double-tracked.
The LRDF supports local and regional initiatives through grants to fund appraisal work – helping applicants develop an evidence base for potential improvements. The most recent eight awards bring the total allocated spend by the LRDF to around £1.5m of an available £2m funding pot.
Speaking about the announcement, Mr Matheson said: “Since 2007, we have demonstrated our commitment to Scotland’s railway by investing around £8bn in rail services and infrastructure. Future investment partly relies on local communities embracing the potential it offers and, in turn, bringing forward new ideas.
“We know that the costs of transport appraisal can be a significant barrier, but appraisals are a fundamental evidence-gathering step when considering transport issues and opportunities.
“The Local Rail Development Fund responds to this by providing practical help for local stakeholders and I am pleased that the Fund remains popular with those looking to secure local benefits.
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“This visit to the Kintore station site today allows me to see at first hand progress on this project and the latest phase of the double tracking that is fundamental to the overall Aberdeen – Inverness Improvement programme. This is a fitting setting to announce the latest round of Local Rail Development Fund awards.”
Dr Margaret Bochel, Nestrans vice-chair, welcomed the announcement of the funding, adding: “The recent investment in dualling the majority of the line between Inverurie and Aberdeen has provided the opportunity for enhanced local rail service, and significant increase in rail capacity.
“This grant will give Nestrans and partners the opportunity to consider whether further rail stations would enhance this local rail service.
“Our work at Kintore has proved a successful model of regional partnership working with Transport Scotland, Network Rail, and ScotRail, and we hope that we’ll be able to continue this positive relationship with this next piece of work”