Local Rail Development Fund

Investing in our railways to connect communities

The £2 million Scottish Government Local Rail Development Fund (the Fund), was relaunched in February 2019 to respond to the interest and enthusiasm shown by local organisations in looking at opportunities to tackle local transport issues.  

Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, infrastructure and Connectivity, announced the applications that have been successful in securing funding from the second launch of the Fund while visiting the site of the new railway station at Kintore on 22 August.

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

Announcing the successful applicants, 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”.

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.

Successful Applications from the relaunch of the Fund

Dunblane Community Council

Project: Access to Dunblane Station - transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around access to Dunblane Station

Requested LRDF Contribution: £95,000

East Lothian Council

Project: East Lothian Access Study - transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in East Lothian

Requested LRDF Contribution: £50,000

Hitrans

Project: HMNB Clyde Transport Opportunities – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Helensburgh area

Requested LRDF Contribution: £85,000 

Nestrans

Project: Cross Aberdeen Travel - transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in the Aberdeen area

Requested LRDF Contribution: £80,000

SEStran

Project: Sustainable options for growth at the Port of Leith - transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around the Port of Leith

Requested LRDF Contribution: £150,000

StARLink

Project: St Andrews – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around St Andrews

Requested LRDF Contribution: £180,000

Swestrans

Project: Accessibility at Kirkconnel station - transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities around access to Kirkconnel Station

Requested LRDF Contribution: £30,000

Tactran

Project: Tay Cities Park & Choose Strategy: Opportunities along the Perth-Montrose corridor

Requested LRDF Contribution: £147,000

First round of the Local Rail Development Fund

This follows on from round one awards which saw 10 projects share just under £700,000 of funding:

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

Hitrans

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

Nestrans

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

StARLink

Project: St Andrews – transport appraisal to assess transport needs and opportunities in and around St Andrews

Requested LRDF Contribution: £40,000

Tactran

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

Amount awarded in round 1: £681,000

Total awarded to date: £1.498,000

Notes

Some projects have an element of matched funding (not shown here)

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.