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Network Rail plans need to consider new lines and stations

Published 23 March 2016 by Colin Howden

_D300302Our rail campaigner Paul Tetlaw has been very busy recently. As well as attending a never-ceasing round of meetings with campaigners, politicians and industry types around the country, he has recently compiled our response to the Network Rail Scotland Route Study.

In our response, Paul makes the case that “A study looking as far ahead as 2043 cannot be confined to seeking improvements to the existing network. Society, travel patterns and population centres have all evolved and many areas are not well served by the existing network. We therefore recommend certain additions to the network to better serve the country” and that it is “essential that this Route Study considers the opportunities to re-open lines and stations or indeed build sections of new route.”

In a comprehensive response, Paul sets out our current thinking on issues such as: Transport Forecasting and Strategic Planning; Safeguarding Former Routes; Expanding/Growing the Network; Connecting the Cities; Serving the Cities;Tram-Trains; Major Stations; Electrification; Rural Routes; Freight; Anglo-Scottish Routes; and Future Resilience/Alternative Routes. We have subsequently discussed our response with senior officials at Transport Scotland and will soon be seeking another meeting with Network Rail to raise our points with them directly.

In recent months, we’ve also been in a detailed correspondence with Scottish Government ministers regarding what we see as patronage under-forecasting for new rail schemes, and have recently taken up this correspondence with Transport Scotland civil servants.

As a part of the new franchise ScotRail has committed to the formation of a Stakeholder Advisory Panel. We were invited to join the Panel and we are pleased to announce that Paul has now been elected as Chair of the Panel.

Finally, we’ve welcomed the recent Scottish Government announcements on additional rolling stock for ScotRail, and the plans for eventually getting high-speed rail to Scotland.