SNP Highlight Threat to Scottish Rail Services

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It has emerged that some Scottish rail services may be under threat after a parliamentary question in the House of Commons revealed that new rolling stock may not be able to run on some lines North of Edinburgh.

The question, posed by the SNP’s Mike Weir, had asked the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport about the future of direct train services between London, Aberdeen and Inverness.

It has emerged that some Scottish rail services may be under threat after a parliamentary question in the House of Commons revealed that new rolling stock may not be able to run on some lines North of Edinburgh.

The question, posed by the SNP’s Mike Weir, had asked the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport about the future of direct train services between London, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Conservative MP Theresa Villliers confirmed that the long term future of the services will be determined by decisions on replacement of the current rolling stock yet to be made.

However, changes in rolling stock – from diesel to electric – would mean that trains could not continue north of Edinburgh, because lines are not electrified.

Commenting, SNP Business and Enterprise spokesperson Mike Weir MP said:

“This confirms fears that the future of direct rail services are at risk, and we must stop this threat in its tracks.

“The last government proposed buying new dual fuel diesel/electric trains for use on the line. That decision was postponed just before the general election and then again by the new coalition government until the comprehensive spending review – which is a heavy indication that they will be cancelled.”

Mr Weir claimed that cancellation of the new rolling stock would affect tourism and businesses, adding:

“It would be a completely backward step if we were lose these direct services and a massive blow for businesses and tourism in the North of Scotland.

“This decision is being made from a London perspective completely ignoring the great bulk of Scotland that lies north of the central belt.

“This move would also put to shame any attempts by the Coalition Government to reduce carbon emissions, it is likely to force many businesses travellers from trains back into the air.

“The loss of these direct services will impact on the constituents of many Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs who use these services to London, and will be concerned that their MP is now supporting a Government who wish to see these services cut.”

Note:
Mr Weir’s parliamentary question is detailed below:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100916