A NEW study into the feasibility of a railway station close to Faslane is to be funded by the Scottish Government.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson has agreed to an £85,000 investigation in to whether there should be an an extra stop on the West Highland rail line serving HM Naval Base Clyde to cope with the expansion of the base, which will house the UK's entire submarine fleet by 2020.

The 'transport appraisal', to be carried out by the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans), will "assess transport needs and opportunities in the Helensburgh area" under the heading of 'HMNB Clyde Transport Opportunities'.

A railway station serving Faslane has long been on the 'wish list' of the Ministry of Defence as part of the expansion of the naval base.

READ MORE: Shandon rail station on MoD's 'wish list' for navy base expansion

The Advertiser reported earlier this year on an Argyll and Bute Council document, listing the area's 'top transport priorities', which recommended lobbying for a new railway halt at Shandon to serve the naval base or improving the existing public bus service between Helensburgh and the base.

And last year we revealed that the council was working with the MoD to examine the feasibility of opening an old station platform near Faslane.

The Faslane project is one of eight across Scotland to be investigated with financial support of £817,000 from the Local Rail Development Fund (LRDF), unveiled by Mr Matheson on Thursday.

READ MORE: Talks held over reopening of Faslane railway station

Hitrans' own 'Fastline Faslane' project had already received a share of £681,000 in the first round of LRDF awards in 2018.

Mr Matheson said: "“We know that the costs of transport appraisal can be a significant barrier, but appraisals are a fundamental evidence-gathering step when considering transport issues and opportunities.

"The Local Rail Development Fund responds to this by providing practical help for local stakeholders and I am pleased that the Fund remains popular with those looking to secure local benefits."

READ MORE: Faslane rail station and A82 upgrades feature in Argyll and Bute's top transport priorities

The idea of reopening the former stations in Rhu and Shandon was raised by the Scottish Green Party last year, though the suggestion received a lukewarm response from local residents and the community council, who expressed concern at whether the villages' narrow roads could cope with the additional road traffic which new stations would generate.