Transport campaigners call for direct Edinburgh to Cardiff rail link

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 30 August 2018 in News

With the UK Government’s call for evidence on the new franchise closing today, Transform Scotland urged ministers to create a 'Celtic Capitals connection'

Image credit: EP audiovisual

The new Cross Country rail franchise should include direct services between Edinburgh and Cardiff, according to sustainable transport campaigners.

With the UK Government’s call for evidence on the new franchise closing today, Transform Scotland urged ministers to create a 'Celtic Capitals connection', saying it would provide “an opportunity to further build political and cultural links between the Welsh and Scottish capital cities, while also providing for greater leisure travel links between them”.

The group, which is made up of public, private and third sector organisations, also called for a focus on long-distance routes, with commuter stops transferred to local rail franchises, and a review of routes and destinations, with more services from Scotland to Oxford, Reading and the south coast of England.

In its response to the Department for Transport the campaign group warned the current franchise suffers from a ‘one size fits all’ approach, as well as serious overcrowding and poor on-board facilities.

Transform Scotland spokesperson Paul Tetlaw said: “The capitals of Scotland and Wales have long suffered from a sub-standard rail connection. The new Cross Country rail franchise provides an opportunity to put in place direct rail services between Cardiff and Edinburgh.

"With powers increasingly being passed to the devolved administrations, there is an opportunity to further build political and cultural links between the Welsh and Scottish capital cities, while also providing for greater leisure travel links between them.

"The extension of Virgin Trains services from Scotland to Birmingham and onwards to London has proved popular -- providing new direct connections between stations along the route. Similarly routing some trains to Wales would open up new journey opportunities."

The submission also included a call to revised and enhance marketing to widen awareness of available routes.

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