Although the Transport Scotland’s Rail 2014 consultation provides voluminous data on our railway network, it lacks dynamic promotion of innovative opportunities to further exploit the passenger carrying potential of our national network.
Suggestions of axing some sleeper services and through daytime crossborder trains beyond the central belt, with the ‘potential’ for slower/ less frequent trains and even higher fares elsewhere is dismally defeatist from a government supposedly committed to reducing our high level of car dependency.
Pretending that an Edinburgh interchange hub, serving English destinations, would be ‘just as good’ as direct trains from Aberdeen-Dundee/Inverness/ Fort William to London is a cruel deception, guaranteed to lose 25 per cent of existing customers.
They are unwilling to accept such time wasting inconvenience, and reduced confidence in rail travel.
On fares, why no suggestion of ending the extortionate ‘price hike’ applied to single journey tickets, or those who don’t return the same day (both are major discouragements to rail travel).
Also avoided is the need to include ScotRail in the national concessionary [bus-only] travel scheme. Railfuture Scotland has already outlined an initiative, to the 2008 ScotRail franchise extension, how significantly cheaper train travel within the scheme is possible, without increasing the Government’s current subsidy.
Any Rail consultation, with aspirational vision, should also have highlighted the legitimacy of long planned, new services, e.g. Glasgow Crossrail (Scotland’s missing link), Aberdeen Crossrail and the reopening of Edinburgh’s suburban line. All are routes with major travel growth demand.
Research Officer, Railfuture Scotland