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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 06:36 GMT
Mine link wins 10m grant
Longannet power station
The coal is taken to a power station in Fife
Plans for a new rail link which will take loads from an open cast mine off the roads have been awarded 10m by the Scottish Executive.

The project will enable coal to be taken directly from Ayrshire to a power station in Fife.

The move - which the executive said was part of its policy of moving freight from road to rail - will save more than 250 lorry movements every day.

But critics said the project was a minor improvement which should not be allowed to disguise the government's "appalling" record on the railways.

Rail tracks
A new rail link will be built
The new 10km rail line will link the Gaswater open mine near Cumnock in Ayrshire with the main railway network.

The coal wagons will then go on to Longannet Power Station in Fife, relieving the roads of 250 lorry journeys a day.

The project will cost a total of 15m, with 10m of that money coming from the Scottish Executive.

It is hoped that the rail link will be completed by the summer of next year.

The latest Freight Facilities Grant follows an 11m award for the Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry service.

Moving freight

Deputy Transport Minister Lewis Macdonald said these projects will help the executive achieve its target of removing 18m lorry miles from Scotland's roads this year.

But Scottish National Party transport spokesman Kenny MacAskill said the grants did not go far enough.

He said ministers would re-open the Alloa line if they really wanted to move freight from road to rail.

The link from Alloa to Stirling was one of the projects included in the 10-year plan for major improvements to tracks and trains which was published by the Strategic Rail Authority last month.

See also:

14 Jan 02 | Scotland
Capital station to be 'rebuilt'
14 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Rail masterplan unveiled
20 Dec 01 | Scotland
Continental ferry link approved
06 Nov 01 | Scotland
Funding boost for Euro ferry
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