Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has lodge a motion condemning a report which called for the axing of train routes between the Highlands/North East and London.
Mr Gibson said that the suggestion contained in the intercity express programme review (carried out by Sir Andrew Foster) that long distance trains from London to Inverness, as well as Aberdeen, could be scrapped would do untold damage to the economy, environment and quality of life in the Highlands/North East.
He also said that the idea smacked of a modern day Beeching cut
Lodging the motion in Parliament Mr Gibson said,
"If this was allowed to happen then it would do more damage than the Beeching cuts. The train crews on East Coast provide an excellent service. The public does not expect to have to change trains at Edinburgh before embarking for London. The problems for families or the disabled would be considerable."
"The suggestion to cut the service from Inverness and Aberdeen to London is ludicrous. To server the link would only make the respective areas remote and detached. The Tourism industry would take a hammering, and the wider economy would suffer as well. It's viability and sustainability would come under increasing pressures if trains began and ended their journeys in the Central belt."
"In the climate change era when we are encouraging people to use trains as an green alternative then it would be ridiculous to then start cutting long distance train services. Forcing people into their cars or planes is not the way anyone should be thinking or acting."
"What is needed is increased services and improvements to the existing lines not cuts to it. If the Co-alition UK Government allow this to happen then I think that the Lib Dems and Tories deserve to suffer a huge backlash against them, especially in the Highlands."
Copy of Rob's Motion:
Keep Inverness to London rail services:
That the Parliament notes the Review of the Intercity Express Programme by Sir Andrew Foster, in which he suggests that the long-distance routes between London and Inverness could stop being served by through trains; believes this to be an unacceptable approach to rail services within the United Kingdom which would have far-reaching effects on travellers forced to change trains unnecessarily, raises serious concern for increased greenhouse gas emission, threatens the promotion of tourism and attacks the quality of life, connectivity and sustainable economy of the Highlands & Islands and finally supports motion S3M-06790 in the name of Brian Adam in calling on the Secretary of State for Transport to reject Sir Andrew Foster’s proposals.