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Enlightened decisions needed for future Highlands rail capacity

Published 13 January 2016 by Jamie Wylie

We’ve had an interesting response from cabinet secretary Keith Brown MSP to a letter sent in December by our director Colin Howden.

Commenting on the letter, Colin Howden said:

“In the letter, Mr Brown makes the welcome response that Transport Scotland continue to monitor the performance of the Borders Railway. It is well known that its performance has been compromised by decisions taken to scale down the double-tracking of the route. Furthermore, the very short-sighted decision to build single-track tunnels has limited the opportunity for additional capacity on the route — except at excessive cost (that is, knocking down the bridges and starting again).

“Mr Brown doesn’t, however, confirm that the A9 dualling works will make allowance for future double-tracking and electrification of the parallel Highland Main Line. Given the errors made in the specification of the infrastructure for the Borders Railway, it would be a staggering failure should the opportunity for future improvements to rail services serving Inverness be damaged by decisions taken by Mr Brown’s staff for the A9 project. We are pleased that Mr Brown is now going to get his civil servants at Transport Scotland to consult Network Rail, and we trust that more enlightened decisions will be taken here than was the case for the Borders Railway.”