South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has repeated his call for Transport Scotland, Network Rail and the privatised rail firms to stump up their share of funding to deliver extra car parking for Lockerbie Railway Station.
The MSP recently launched a petition calling for improved parking and better rail services from Lockerbie and next week members of South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANS) will be asked to consider a range of options for increasing car parking at the station.
Land around Sydney Place near the station has been earmarked as the preferred location for a badly needed overflow car park, which would be the third phase of a plan to improve parking at the station which is now used by over 200,000 passengers a year. Phase Two would see the existing car park next to the north bound track enhanced to create additional spaces at a cost of just over £505,000
So far funding of £300,000 was agreed by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee last month towards the improvements but Colin Smyth believes that SWESTRANs should make a bid to Transport Scotland and Network Rail for funding and urge the rail companies such as Scotrail who own the station and Virgin Rail and Transpennine Express who run services through the station to pay their fair share.
Colin Smyth said, “More and more people use Lockerbie station every day and the demand for car parking spaces is growing all the time. Whilst there is a need to look at how we can improve bus services to the station, increased car parking is also needed. It is encouraging that once again the council has put it hand in its pocket to contribute towards car parking at a railway station, but it shouldn’t be left to the hard pressed council tax payer to fully fund it. It is the privatised rail companies who benefit most from increased usage of the station, so they should stump up their fair share”.
“Transport Scotland and Network Rail also have funds for station improvements they have used in other parts of Scotland, so they should contribute to improvements at Lockerbie station”.
“Over £500,000 for phase 2 and around £1.6m for phase 3 sounds like a huge sum, but that is likely to be over a lengthy period and if you divide it between the rail companies who use the station, Transport Scotland and Network Rail, with some support from the council, it is not an unreasonable funding request and would provide benefits both for local residents and rail passengers.”
Annandale North Councillor and new member of the SWESTRANS board, Adam Wilson has also backed calls for improved parking believing the current situation is unacceptable for local residents.
Adam Wilson said, “The growing demand for parking at the station is putting huge pressure on local residential areas much to the dismay of residents who have difficulty parking near their own home at busy periods. Lockerbie residents are keen to see the car parking issue resolved as soon as possible. To do this, it is essential that funding from Government agencies and rail companies is made available to start and progress works.