Timetable required for rail improvements between Aberdeen and Central Belt

Scottish Conservative MSP Ross Thomson has called for a clear timetable from the SNP government on rail upgrade plans to improve journey times between Aberdeen and the Central Belt.

The Scottish Government has committed to investing in rail infrastructure in the North East, but Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Secretary Keith Brown said last week the project could take ten years.

That would mean it would be 2026 before passengers travelling to Edinburgh and Glasgow see the benefits of the announcement made by Mr Brown in January this year.

It is understood that Network Rail has not yet been asked to proceed with a specific project, but to look at different options for improvements on the line.

North East MSP Mr Thomson said: “I have tabled a parliamentary question to ask the Scottish Government when these improvement works will begin, and when they will be completed.

“Mr Brown made this announcement in January and then told the chamber last week that the upgrades would happen within the 10-year timeframe of the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

“Given that investment decisions by Network Rail are made several years in advance, it is vital that we get detailed plans on the table as soon as possible.

“Passengers and businesses cannot wait any longer for these promised works. The Scottish Government has been talking about this since 2008 but we have seen no action.

“Speeding up journey times between Aberdeen and Glasgow and Edinburgh has been identified as a priority by regional transport partnership Nestrans as well as Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, whose members appreciate the value it will bring to business at a time when the local economy is struggling due to the ongoing downturn in oil and gas.”

The Aberdeen City Region Deal was signed by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils as well as the UK and Scottish governments in January.

On the same day, Mr Brown said that an additional £254million would be invested by the SNP government in infrastructure improvements for the North East

The extra funding is due to cover a new flyover on the A90 at Laurencekirk, the rail upgrades and financing to free up new land for housing developments.

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

 

Written parliamentary question submitted by Ross Thomson MSP:

 

To ask the Scottish Government when the improvement works on the Aberdeen – (a) Glasgow and (b) Edinburgh rail line will (i) commence and (ii) end.