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Scottish rail electrification outperforming South of the Border

Published 30 January 2020 by Transform Scotland

Tangent Magazine released the article, “Leaping Over Obstacles at Rail: North of the Border” from their discussions at the annual Rail: North of the Border dinner in Glasgow in September 2019. Rail in Scotland has made fantastic progress on electrification in recent years, outperforming that seen South of the Border.

Paul Tetlaw, Transform Scotland Rail Spokesperson, said to Tangent:

“Things, to my mind, are better planned and better delivered in Scotland, and there’s more consistency, There’s no better example of that than the electrification programme which has gone ahead right across the central belt in Scotland, and with each new scheme from the Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa line to the Shotts line – the cost of electrification has progressively come down.

That’s partly because there’s been a deliberate and continuous programme of electrification which has helped keep skills together and keep the workforce together. So there hasn’t been this dreadful stop-start like there’s been in England.”

However a lot more remains to be done for the Scottish Government to make rail quicker than road between Scottish cities, and this will be the major challenge rail in Scotland faces over the coming years. Paul added:

“In policy documents, they’re very clear that they want to make rail quicker than road between Scotland’s cities, so that’s between Edinburgh and Glasgow and in the north with Inverness and Aberdeen. And yet massive capital expenditure is going onto road-building on those corridors in the north – £3bn to the A9, £3bn to the A96 – and it’s very doubtful that they can keep to those expenditure envelopes.

So you declared a climate emergency, you said you wanted to make rail quicker than road between the cities, but yet your priority at the moment is improving the road journey times at the expense of rail. My big plea to the Scottish Government would be to look at spending priorities and shift into sustainable transport modes.”