Transform Scotland’s Communications Officer, Rachel McFarlane, reports on a selection of our recent campaign activities.
The last month’s activities at Transform have been largely shaped by COP26. The team have been busy in Glasgow promoting our campaign work; as well as attending panel discussions, screenings, marches, and talks.
After a hectic two weeks, now is a good time to reflect on the proceedings and consider what we achieved and learned.
Paul takes a trip on the Vivarail Class 230 Battery EMU train
On 1 November Paul Tetlaw, the Convenor of our Policy Forum and committee member of Capital Rail Action Group, attended one of the demonstration runs of the Vivarail Class 230 Battery EMU train from Glasgow Central to Barrhead. The train was converted from a former London Underground D78 electric model.
Vivarail’s purpose for this demonstration was to highlight the role that batteries must play as we decarbonise the railway network.
They note that whilst ‘electrification is the most logical method of decarbonising the railways’, that installing the overhead wires can be very difficult and expensive. Therefore, using ‘batteries [is] the logical solution’, because the technology is developed and it allows us to avoid installing a complex network of wires.
Paul noted that: “it remains to be seen where such converted trains might be appropriate on the Scottish network, but as a demonstration of battery technology it certainly worked”.
#lovemybus and COP26
In the lead up to COP26 our #lovemybus team launched a video to accompany a blog written in support of the campaign by Transport Secretary Graeme Dey. Dey’s blog touched on the important role that bus must play in our transition to a zero emission society. He said:
“Buses can be our greatest ally in our just transition to net zero – delivering on a range of outcomes ranging from environmental to economic, from social equality and to improved health outcomes.”
Dey’s blog, alongside the fantastic video produced by our Transform Creative team, paved the way for a successful COP for #lovemybus in Glasgow.
During the two weeks, the team were situated at First Bus Caledonian Depot, engaging with visitors to the depot about the important role of bus in creating a better future for all. The messaging was clear: #choosebus for a better, cleaner, greener, and more equal society.
Marching through Glasgow
On Friday 5 and Saturday 6 November, some of our team attended the Climate Marches that were taking place in Glasgow. Starting in Kelvingrove Park, they joined the thousands of people, moving their way through the streets of Glasgow, demanding more to be done to curb our global emissions and strive for a better future.
LNER and Transform Scotland team up to host an event in the National Museum for Scotland
On 10 November, we teamed up with LNER to host an event in Edinburgh to discuss recent research undertaken by transport experts Steer.
Their research found that taking the train is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than plane or car for Edinburgh-London journeys, but that there is a mismatch between people’s perception of rail travel, and this reality.
Commenting on these findings, Transform’s director Colin Howden said:
“It’s well known that the train is better than the plane for protecting the climate, but much work is still required to communicate the price, speed and reliability benefits of rail over air for Anglo-Scottish trips.
“Part of that job is for the rail industry itself. But we also need to see action from the Scottish Government in shifting domestic travel from air to rail. Its new aviation strategy proposals actually encourage an increase in domestic flights and fail to capitalise on the shift towards rail travel that is already underway for routes between central Scotland and London.”
We will be addressing this mismatch in the coming weeks and months as we work closely with our rail partners to get the message out to the public to #chooserail.