Glasgow’s train stations to remain open despite Labour’s “opportunistic scaremongering”

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP’s Bob Doris has hailed Transport Minister Keith Brown’s announcement that there will be no train station closures in Glasgow or across Scotland.  Mr Brown made his remarks while on a visit to Nitshill station in the city. 

The station was one of those which the Labour party had claimed were at risk of closure due to the Scottish Government’s consultation and review of Scotland’s railway network.

 

The confirmation comes after repeated claims by the Labour party that the Scottish Government was planning to close down local train stations in the Glasgow area.  On 23rd February, Labour infrastructure spokesman said the consultation “calls into question the future of 11 railway stations in and around the city”.  Mr Brown made his remarks after the Scottish Government had announced that it had no plans to close the stations, but had to wait until the consultation exercise was completed before it was able to make an official announcement.

Since coming into power, the SNP government has opened the new Airdrie – Bathgate railway, providing a convenient new rail link between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Investment in services has provided 30,000 extra seats daily on Scottish trains, and five new stations have been opened.  38 new electric trains have been introduced, providing 7,500 extra passenger seats.  Investment in rail infrastructure will be  £426.1m this year, the highest since rail devolution.  Future large railway projects include the re-opening a line from Edinburgh to towns in the Borders, which lost their railway service after the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

Speaking to STV, Mr Brown said: “I am delighted to confirm that no stations in Glasgow will be closing. Indeed, we are looking at ways in which we can support the development of new stations on the rail network.

“This Scottish Government has a record of supporting new stations and improving stations across the country. We have invested heavily in the railways with new lines and improvements to the network.

“The Rail Consultation has been an opportunity for people and organisations across the country to express their views on the future of rail services and how services are provided across Scotland.”

Mr Brown added: “As I have continually stated throughout the consultation, we had no plans to close any stations. However, we had to be willing to take on the views expressed by those participating in the consultation and that is what we have done.

“The Scottish Government has an absolute commitment to rail services and to doing all we can to encourage more people on to the trains with all the benefits that entails – less congestion on the roads, a reduction in carbon emissions and increased job and investment opportunities.”

Mr Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow, accused the Labour party of “opportunistic scaremongering” in their claims that stations in Glasgow would be closed.

He said: “This announcement confirms what the Scottish Government has been saying throughout the consultation period that there were no plans for closures and it shows that the SNP is committed to providing excellent rail services in Glasgow and across the country.

“We have heard time and time again form Labour that it was our objective to close nine stations in Glasgow, but today the Transport Minister Keith Brown has ended this opportunistic scaremongering by confirming that there will be no closures.

“When some people had genuine concerns SNP MSP’s sought reassurances from the Transport Minister and received them. In the meantime Labour merely sought to make political capital.

“Labour must feel really silly today – all they have succeeded in doing is to frighten people unnecessarily.

“If Labour really wants to contribute to the debate on the future of transport in Scotland in a constructive manner then they will have to come up with positive suggestions about Scotland’s rail services.”