Rail halt worry

Hillfoot train station - one stop before the proposed new Allander station.
Hillfoot train station - one stop before the proposed new Allander station.

A rail expert is concerned that East Dunbartonshire Council officers lack the enthusiasm to create a new Allander train station.

There was cross party support from councillors earlier this year when they agreed to spend £50,000 on a study to find out the level of demand for a new train station between Hillfoot and Milngavie.

If the project is found to be viable then a further £454,335 will be made available for a full financial and technical feasibility study.

However Ken Sutherland, a research officer at Railfuture Scotland, is worried that council officials will resist councillors’ wishes for the project to go ahead.

He was disappointed that Thomas Glen, East Dunbartonshire Council’s group director of place and neighbourhood, was not able to satisfy his anxieties.

Mr Sutherland said: “Mr Glen failed to assure me that local people will be involved in consultation and that there will be public meetings.

“He says the Allander station would be within one mile of existing stations - which suggests that he doesn’t think it’s required.

“We also need adequate parking facilities to enable people to drive from other areas such as Baldernock, Strathblane, Drymen, Killearn and Balfron.”

Mr Sutherland also says the council “squandered” an opportunity to make sure that CALA, who are building homes near the Allander Leisure Centre, contribute towards any new train station.

Thomas Glen said: “A rail halt in the Allander area has been a long-term aspiration of this authority, with officers guided by elected members and the council’s Transport Working Group.

“It is not within the council’s gift to deliver the rail halts alone. We have been working with Transport Scotland, SPT and Network Rail to achieve our common goals - improved transport links for East Dunbartonshire.

“It is too early to say how the study will be conducted and by whom, but the appropriate process is underway and we will be going out to tender shortly.

“Officers worked hard to secure a contribution from CALA for the Allander Sports Centre. Land has been provided within the site masterplan for rail-halt parking - for up to 150 vehicles - by the developers.”