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Paul Tetlaw on New ScotRail Franchise

Published 08 October 2014 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland rail campaigner comments on today’s announcement of the new ScotRail franchise to Abellio:

Today we heard the formal announcement of the award of the new Scotrail franchise to Abellio. We were delighted to see Transport Scotland headline their news release as this being a ‘new deal to transform rail services’. We are also pleased to see that many of the improvements that we had called for are specified in the new franchise. Our top priorities are:

  • Inter-city routes need to have appropriate rolling stock for such long distance services and journey times must be reduced to compete with the car.
  • Rural routes also need appropriate rolling stock to allow passengers to enjoy the many scenic and world famous journeys on Scotland’s railways.
  • The new operator must work closely with Visit Scotland and tourist attractions to market the railway in Scotland.
  • Further re-openings are needed to serve communities such as Levenmouth where a new railway would provide a major economic boost.

However, in addition, there will need to be serious investment in the inter-city routes and it is imperative that the Scottish Government now comes forward with detailed plans for infrastructure enhancements. If the train is indeed to compete with the car then we need to see the same level of ambition for the railway that the Government clearly demonstrates for roads.