Mike Rumbles, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for the North East, has criticised the Scottish Governments central belt bias in light of the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line blunder.
The electric cables on the £742million upgrade to the 42 mile line are too low and must be replaced to meet safety standards. The error has resulted in at least a 7 month delay and a £32million over spend on the project.
The 108 mile Aberdeen to Inverness line in contrast remains primarily single track and operates as an irregular service. Phase one of improvements; redoubling the track to Inverurie, signalling enhancements and station upgrades, worth £170million will be delivered by March 2019. By 2030, the Aberdeen to Inverness rail improvements project aims to shed a mere 25 minutes from the two and a half hour journey.
Speaking today Mr Rumbles said: “The bungling of improvements on the Glasgow to Edinburgh line resulting in additional time and expenses for the project are typical for the Scottish Government and highlight the neglect of the North Easts transport infrastructure. It really is the last straw.
“In 2002 the SNP in opposition called for investment in the line, calling it a “slow train to nowhere” and in the last decade has done absolutely nothing about it. In fact the journey time has increased and the regularity of service has remained the same.
“The North East has some of the most dangerous roads in the UK and is host to the largest town furthest away from its nearest railway station in Britain. It is clear to me that the SNP continues to take the area for granted and has no serious plans to do anything about the woeful state of the areas infrastructure and public transport links.”
- SNP press release regarding Aberdeen-Inverness rail links 2002 http://220.127.116.11/media-centre/news/2002/feb/snp-demand-north-east-journey-time-improvements
- Aberdeen-Inverness Rail Improvements http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/aberdeen-inverness-rail-improvements
- Peterhead, at 32 miles from its nearest railway station, is further away than any other town of its size from its nearest rail link.