Thursday, 5 August 2010
It has emerged that the UK coalition Government is considering axing the direct link from London to Aberdeen to save money.
Plans to upgrade the line and replace diesel trains with faster electric models were put on hold in February amid funding difficulties.
Former Audit Commission chairman Sir Andrew Foster, who was reviewing the deal for the government, suggested stopping the electric services at Edinburgh could save tens of millions of pounds. After a "passenger-friendly train change" in Edinburgh, passengers heading further north would go by diesel to Fife, Dundee and beyond.
His report states, "Some significant long-distance destinations (Aberdeen, Inverness and Carmarthen) are served by lines which are not, and may never be, electrified and therefore require diesel propulsion" and such routes would be best served by "high-quality connecting trains rather than through services."
He said a commitment that connecting services would not leave without all passengers would be needed to make the system work.
Scottish transport minister Stewart Stevenson said it would be "unacceptable" for the UK government to follow the recommendations.
"It is not acceptable that the department of transport go ahead with the intercity express programme while ignoring the realities of delivering cross-border services to Aberdeen and Inverness.
"We already face the end of services from Glasgow to King's Cross next year, and further cuts to cross-border services are unacceptable."
Another strand to the respect agenda is revealed. We are all in this together so people in Scotland can suffer.
I’m wondering if Sir Andrew has ever actually been on a train. If he had he would be well aware that this notion of a passenger friendly interchange is just totally mythical. When you have young kids and several heavy items of luggage getting off one train and trying to find another is a nightmare.
The fact of the matter is that the trains that run on the main line from London to Aberdeen date from 1976 and not a thing has been invested in the service since then. Now it’s getting difficult and costly to keep these antiques running, so rather than Scotland finally, at last get its share of the new trains we can just do without. And electrification north of Edinburgh, not a hope!
After all why would the Tories fund infrastructure in Scotland? We didn’t vote for them, we only pick up the cheque in the shape of all that lovely oil revenue that gets spent in England. So they can have their high speed electric link to Paris from London and Birmingham making journey times in England shorter but here in Scotland journey times will be going the other way. But we are all in this together!