Labour MSP Foysol Choudhury has called for sustained action to secure a train station for Winchburgh.
Winchburgh is an expanding West Lothian community, with Winchburgh Developments Ltd delivering thousands of new homes and some new schools. However, a train station has not been delivered, as a new railway station was not a condition of planning permission.
As a result, homeowners in Winchburgh have been left without commuter links to Glasgow and Edinburgh, leading to a campaign to get the station built. Foysol Choudhury, Labour MSP for Lothian, has been pursuing the issue on behalf of constituents and has addressed the issue in the Scottish Parliament with Ministers, as well as making enquiries with other stakeholders such as the Council, local councillors and the Developers.
Mr Choudhury visited Winchburgh along with other politicians including cross party MSPs Sue Webber and Fiona Hyslop who is the Minister for Transport. There he heard for himself the story of the missing train station. The ambition by Winchburgh Developments is to deliver the railway station as part of a group project. See the presentation about the station here.
Mr Choudhury has raised concerns that he has written to three successive Ministers for Transport – Jenny Gilruth MSP, Kevin Stewart MSP and Fiona Hyslop MSP – to ask them to meet with him and other interested MSPs so that they can all work together to try and find a solution for constituents.
Mr Choudhury says he was disappointed to have only received a response on 10 January 2024, which referenced the correspondence sent to Ms Gilruth, Mr Stewart and Ms Hyslop and said that as Winchburgh is in Ms Hyslop’s constituency, she has recused herself from this project.
The letter said that the issue now lies in the Ministerial Portfolio of Patrick Harvie MSP, who says he cannot meet with Mr Choudhury at this time.
Mr Choudhury has written back to Mr Harvie highlighting the importance of meeting to discussing this issue, for the sake of constituents, and has asked to be invited to an upcoming meeting with the relevant stakeholders.
Mr Choudhury said, following issuing this response to the Minister: “It is incredibly disappointing that I have had to write to so many Ministers, only to finally receive a response which did not offer a meeting.
“We must all work together to secure a station for the people of Winchburgh, who were sold homes on a belief it would be a commuter town – I cannot understand why the Scottish Government has ignored my requests to this extent so many times.
“I even previously invited the Minister to come and see first-hand why a railway station is needed and the importance of clean and sustainable transport links for Winchburgh, yet the Scottish Government still do not seem to be taking this seriously.
“I am glad that other stakeholders, including MSPs, local councillors, the local community and the developers Winchburgh Developments Ltd, are instead taking this seriously where the Scottish Government are not.
“We were able to come together earlier this week to have a very productive conversation on how we can work together towards a new station for Winchburgh and I am hopeful that together, we can get this done!”
Mr Choudhury says he remains committed to continuing to pursue a new Winchburgh train station on behalf of all his constituents.