Local Rail Development Fund

Investing in our railways to connect communities

The £2 million Scottish Government Local Rail Development Fund, was announced in February 2018, with the aim of providing funding to develop community led options to improve local rail connections.

The successful organisations from the first round of applications were announced by Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity on 9 August 2018. Further information on these projects can be found at the end of this page.

The fund generated a lot of interest, demonstrating the enthusiasm and interest organisations have in tackling their local transport issues. With this in mind, the Cabinet Secretary re-launched the fund in 2019 with the remaining balance of up to £1.3 million. 

Glasgow Queen Street StationInvestment in our railways to connect communities remains a priority for the Scottish Government.

What does the fund do?

The fund enables local communities to appraise and potentially bring forward proposals aimed at tackling local rail connectivity issues. Transport appraisal costs can be significant for local stakeholders and communities as they consider their transport needs – the Fund responds to this providing an opportunity to apply for assistance with appraisal costs.

Investing in this appraisal work will allow us to consider these local priorities when planning future investment in our railways.

Who can apply to this fund?

Any stakeholder organisation with a responsibility or interest in local transport issues, such as local authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships and local interest groups.

The application can be for a new project or to assist with appraisal work already under development and there is no restriction on organisations that were unsuccessful in the initial round of applications making an application to the fund.

How do you make an application for funding?

Organisations who wish to apply to this fund should download the application form and guide below, complete the application form and return it to rail.infrastructure.strategy@transport.gov.scot by 28 June 2019.


How will successful applicants receive funding?

Successful applicants will be offered a Scottish Government grant to carry out the transport appraisal. The grant letter will include the conditions of the award and the timescales for completion. Payment can only be made once the recipient has accepted the conditions and signed the grant letter.

How does this fund fit with the Scottish Government’s Rail Enhancement and Capital Investment Strategy?

The Rail Enhancements and Capital Investment Strategy outlines the new ‘pipeline’ approach to planning and funding rail projects. Successful applications to the Local Rail Development Fund will follow the process outlined in the diagram on page 9 of the Investment strategy.

Is there a requirement to follow Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance?

In any case where it is likely that Government funding, support or approval will be sought for any further development, promoters must confirm that they will complete a transport appraisal in line with Scottish Strategic Transport Guidance (STAG).

STAG comprises four sequential phases and is applied proportionally and comprehensively with the level of detail determined by the extent of the study area, the nature and scale of transport problems, potential transport options and the impact of options in the study area.

The process is impartial and objective-led rather than being solution-led which means that STAG provides a robust and consistent evidence base for decision-makers. The four sequential stages are:

  • Initial Appraisal: Case for Change
  • Preliminary Options Appraisal
  • Detailed Options Appraisal (including proposals for monitoring and evaluation)
  • Post Appraisal

At each stage of this process there will be a decision point (with the exception of post appraisal) to consider whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the appraisal. Accordingly, funding from the Local Rail Development Fund will be provided in stages and it will only be possible to proceed to the next stage of appraisal when it can be demonstrated that there is sufficient justification to progress and commit further resources to the Preliminary Options Appraisal and Detailed Options Appraisal stages.

Transport Scotland’s Strategic Transport Planning team can provide advice on the application of STAG and Transport Scotland’s published business case guidance.

Is there a timescale for carrying out the transport appraisal?

It is expected that the transport appraisal will be completed by the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

First round of the Local Rail Development Fund

Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, announced the successful applications at St Andrews on 9 August 2018.

Details of the successful applicants are shown below. Note that some projects have an element of matched funding (not shown). Costs are not directly comparable – the transport appraisals cover different geographical areas and different transport issues.

If you would like further information on the Local Rail Development fund, please email Rail.Infrastructure.Strategy@transport.gov.scot.

East Lothian Council

Project: Haddington – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Haddington area

Requested LRDF Contribution: £40,000

Fife Council

Project: Cross Forth Travel – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Fife and wider travel area
Requested LRDF Contribution: £170,000


Project: HMNB Clyde Transport Opportunities – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Helensburgh area
Requested LRDF Contribution: £50,000

Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council

Project: Access to Linlithgow Station – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around access to Linlithgow Station
Requested LRDF Contribution: £27,000


Project: Accessibility at Insch Station – transport appraisal to assess options to improve accessibility at the station
Requested LRDF Contribution: £25,000

Newburgh Train Station Group

Project: Newburgh – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Newburgh area
Requested LRDF Contribution: £82,000

South Lanarkshire Council

Project: Connectivity in Clydesdale – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Clydesdale corridor
Requested LRDF Contribution: £25,000


Project: St Andrews – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around St Andrews
Requested LRDF Contribution: £40,000


Project: Bridge of Earn/Oudenarde P&R – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities from and within Bridge of Earn and between South/West Perth, Fife and Edinburgh
Requested LRDF Contribution: £97,000

Project: Stirling Strategic P&R – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around Stirling
Requested LRDF Contribution: £125,000