Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP has welcomed confirmation today, in a parliamentary answer from the Scottish Government, that refurbished High Speed Trains due in Scotland next year will have twice as many cycle spaces for intermediate stations as previously planned.
Mr Rumbles said that the improvement was due to a dogged campaign to persuade rail bosses that locking all but two cycle spaces out of use for intermediate stations was a mistake.
Mr Rumbles has tabled a series of parliamentary questions to pressurise ministers to revise their plans in the face of criticism from cycle campaigners.
A total of 10 spaces will be available for cyclists, including four for cyclists using intermediate stations on the Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness/Aberdeen routes.
In 2015, the Scottish Government backed down in response to calls from cycling organisations and the Scottish Liberal Democrats to provide more racks for cyclists travelling to and from the Highlands by rail.
At the time the Abellio promised that 20 spaces would be made available on the new High Speed Trains, due to be introduced by next year. Even with today’s announcement, only half that amount has now been confirmed.
Mr Rumbles said:
“While this is not quite as many extra spaces as the Scottish Government promised, any increase is greatly welcome.
“Cycling tourism has grown hugely in recent decades and our public transport network has not kept up with demand. Many cyclists, who join the route after Glasgow or Edinburgh, felt discriminated against and severely limited by having just two spaces available.
“This will benefit people who want to visit Perth, Stonehaven or Aviemore.
“I would like to thank all the cyclists and campaign organisations who have helped keep the pressure on the Scottish Government to deliver on this pledge. I very much hope that the refurbished high speed trains meet the high expectations set for them.”
Notes for editors:
Until today Scotrail had been proposing 8 cycle spaces on each High Speed Train. Six of these would only be used for passengers travelling the full length of the route from Edinburgh/Glasgow to Inverness/Aberdeen. All other passengers would have to make do with the remaining two spaces.
In a presentation to the cross-party cycling group in the Scottish Parliament on 25 February 2015 Abellio had promised 20 cycle spaces on each train.
Parliamentary Questions confirming cycle spaces on HSTs from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness:
- 22 September 2017 - Transport Scotland - Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-10759 by Humza Yousaf on 6 September 2017, whether it expects to reach agreement on increasing cycle provision before the start of the overhaul and refurbishment of the high-speed trains and, if so, whether this will also include provision on services to the intermediate stations between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Inverness. S5W-11247
Humza Yousaf: Transport Scotland has recently reached an agreement with ScotRail to increase the number of spaces available at intermediate stations from 2 to 4 and with 6 spaces (3 per power car) available for end to end journeys on the HSTs planned to be introduced into service in the latter part of 2018. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT
- 21 September 2017 - Index Heading: Transport Scotland - Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-10759 by Humza Yousaf on 6 September 2017, which cycling organisations it has met to discuss the issue of cycle provision on high-speed trains, and on what dates. S5W-11248
Humza Yousaf: The ScotRail chaired Cycle Forum meets three times a year with the frequency approved by the members. This forum is attended by a variety of stakeholders including Transport Scotland, Cycling Scotland, SUSTRANs, CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club), SPOKES and RTPs. All ScotRail’s franchise obligations related to cycling are discussed, including cycle provision on high-speed trains. Transport Scotland also meet ScotRail every four weeks to review, monitor and challenge the franchise obligations related to cycling, and Transport Scotland’s senior management met with SPOKES on 23 August to discuss the issue of cycle provision on high-speed trains. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT
- Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-08324 by Humza Yousaf on 19 April 2017, when it expects the overhaul work on HST units for Abellio ScotRail to commence.
Answered by Humza Yousaf (06/09/2017): The programme of overhaul and refurbishment for the Abellio ScotRail high speed trains (HST) will commence later this year.
- Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-08730 by Humza Yousaf on 26 April 2017, what cycle capacity will be specified for the high-speed trains entering service with ScotRail in 2018.
Answered by Humza Yousaf (06/09/2017): Discussions to increase overall cycle capacity from 10 are nearing conclusion. This represents an increase of 500% more bookable space between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Inverness. We will continue to work closely with ScotRail, and cycling organisations to explore opportunities to increase cycle provision on HST’s while considering the needs of other passengers.