Rail link proposed for Ravenscraig development

Flemington station could re-open but Shieldmuir could close

BY BRIAN YULE

A SCHEME to provide a rail link to the massive Ravenscraig development was revealed in this week's Motherwell Times.

Strathclyde Passenger Transport are looking at re-establishing a station at Flemington.

But a feasibility study suggests that this could come at the cost of closing an existing station, the one at Shieldmuir.

The ideas are explored in an SPT document called the Motherwell Transport Interchange Feasibility Study.

It suggests that Flemington could provide a rail "gateway" to the huge sprawl of shops, houses and leisure facilities planned for the site of the former steelworks. Motherwell College plans to relocate there.

Flemington is on the Law to Holytown railway line. It had been known as Motherwell station until the one in the town centre was built in 1857.

Flemington became primarily a goods station in 1905, although it was occasionally used for passenger transport in the years that followed. It closed in 1965 as part of the huge wave of rail cuts in the UK at that time.

The new Flemington station is likely to be built on the site of its predecessor, just off Craigneuk Street near Flemington Cross.

A park and ride facility for the area is part of the proposal and it could be used as a short term alternative for users of Motherwell Station during the proposed redevelopment of the town centre station. SPT confirmed they are looking at the ideas but stressed no decisions have yet been made.

An SPT spokeswoman said: "We recognise the importance of the Ravenscraig development and the necessity for developing public transport access to the site.

"It has been suggested that Flemington Station could be a potential site. However, we are at the early stages of a feasibility study and no decisions have yet been taken.

"At this time it would be premature to suggest that Shieldmuir Station will be closed or relocated.

"At SPT we believe it is important to have efficient and effective public transport, not only to the new Ravenscraig development but to and from Motherwell."

At present as few as eight to 10 people use Shieldmuir Station each day, but with new housing being built in the area Craigneuk councillor Thomas Lunny would like to see it retained.

He said: "A new station at Flemington would be a good thing if there is enough park and ride but I don't see why there can't be two stations. Airbles and Motherwell are just as close to each other.

"Clearly the number of people who use Shieldmuir Station doesn't make it feasible but with around 300 new homes being built on the Netherton side, some of which are planned to have direct access to the station, the usage may increase."

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy is delighted at the prospect of a new park and ride becoming available.

He said: "I think a park and ride is badly needed and Flemington is an ideal location, not just for Ravenscraig but for the whole of the surrounding area.

"Strategically it will be very important for relieving traffic from the bottleneck at that end of the town and also for relieving the parking pressures at Motherwell Station."