Presiding Officer, in moving this motion tonight I am asking that the Scottish Government make the funding available that will create a rail halt at the Halbeath Park and Choose which is situated in my constituency at Crossgates and is accessible for people in Fife and much further afield.
A rail halt at Halbeath would help take some of the pressure off the rail halt and car parks at the Inverkeithing Station whilst greatly improving choice at Halbeath.
Halbeath is strategically located close to the M90/A90/A92 and sits alongside Fife Circle Railway, and is well positioned to be one of Scotland’s key multi modal transport interchanges.
The strategic Transport Projects Review (2009) identified both a Park and Ride Bus site and Park and Ride Rail Halt also with rail improvements between Inverkeithing and Halbeath.
So the first step in achieving that objective would be to put the rail halt in. This could be linked to the Fife circle route and give people access to the railway as currently operated. This would also achieve the aim of making public transport more competitive with the car by providing visible and accessible park and choose by adding rail to that choice.
Currently there are 23 million vehicles crossing the Forth Road Bridge every year. Approximately 3500 vehicles per hour flowing into Edinburgh and the Lothians.
At peak times trains running southbound are 8 per hour with on average 400 passengers per train so 3,200 passengers an hour meaning over 10,000 passengers every morning coming out of Fife by train. There are over 100 train services in each direction every day.
I believe it makes sense therefore to build a rail halt at Halbeath, indeed if you look at traffic flows onto the bridge, 20% of that traffic comes from Perth and Kinross down the M90 passed Halbeath Park and Choose and onto the bridge, 25% of the traffic coms from the Kirkcaldy/Glenrothes area along the A92 past the Park and Choose and onto the bridge and 29% comes from Dunfermline next to the park and choose and onto the bridge.
But in the medium term it makes even more sense to make the investment that would see the construction of a direct dual-track rail link between Inverkeithing and Halbeath Park and Choose. Such an investment would reduce train journey times from Edinburgh to Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness as well as Fife services and would improve access to the port of Rosyth.
The Halbeath Park and choose would then I believe be at full capacity which is currently 1000 car parking places and we would have the good problem of looking for more places. And not just cars, the Park and Choose has busses running into it from all the communities across Fife so the investment I am calling for would mean we have a proper integrated public transport system.
So step one is the rail halt and then step two is the new rail link direct between Inverkeithing and Halbeath. Such a development would be improving journey times and connections to tackle congestion and the lack of integration and connections in transport that impact on the potential for continued economic growth.
It would be reducing emissions tackling the issues of climate change, air quality and health improvement, and it would improve quality, accessibility and affordability by giving people a choice of public transport, where availability means better quality transport services and value for money and an alternative to the car.
I am totally committed to much better transport links between Edinburgh and Glasgow recognising they are the key drivers of the Scottish economy but crucial to that strategy is the city region link and crucial to that in the east of Scotland is investment into the Fife infrastructure.
Creating a new rail link between Inverkeithing and Halbeath is crucial to that connectivity and putting in place as a first step the rail halt and station at the Park in Choose is what I call for support for today.