Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Gibson calls for safeguarding of Highland rail route to London

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has written to the Patrick Harvie (convenor of the Scottish Parliament transport committee) asking for the Committee to make a submission to the UK Government's consultation on the future of the East Coast Main line advocating the safeguarding of the Inverness to London rail route.

Mr Gibson's letter came following a debate in the UK Parliament where Ministers refused to give assurances that the line would not be downgraded. However it was announced that there would be full public consultation on the new franchise (which was taken over from National Express by the Government recently).

A regular commuter to Edinburgh on the service Mr Gibson said that the Highland Chieftain train to London Kings Cross should not be downgraded....

"This is a vital link for the Highlands for both business and travelers alike as well as the excellent crew on board. Any threat to that service must be fully countered. I think that a submission on behalf of the transport Committee of the Scottish Parliament would be a strong non partisan point which would help protect the route from any potential downgrading."

"In an era of climate change it is important that green modes of travel are encouraged. Any loss of service would send out the wrong message especially after Scotland has passed the most ambitious climate change targets in the world."

"Any downgrading would also make the Highlands a less accessible place. It has already suffered from the loss of direct routes to Heathrow, so a reduced service to the centre of London (as well as the other stops on the line, including Edinburgh Newcastle and York) would be an undoubted blow."

"I hope that the Transport Committee will follow developments of the East Coast Main line and stand up for the future of the Highland rail route."

Mr Gibson also urged business and other passengers throughout the Highlands and Islands to make a submission to support a continuation of the current daily service from Inverness to London.



The Highland Chieftain Service runs from Inverness to London's Kings Cross (and back again) daily.

It stops at: Aviemore, Kingussie, Pitlochry, Perth, Gleneagles, Stirling, Falkirk, Haymarket, Edinburgh Waverly, Newcastle, York and London Kings Cross

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