BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Rail problems 'must be tackled'
Rail station - generic
MSPs said confidence must be restored
Urgent action must be taken to tackle overcrowding and delays on Scotland's railways, according to a parliamentary committee.

MSPs have called for the Scottish Executive to sign an agreement with watchdog body the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) to address "widespread concern" about the railway system.

Holyrood's Transport and the Environment Committee said "a more coherent vision of rail priorities and clear lines of responsibility and leadership" must be ensured to restore confidence in the industry.

Passenger
The committee focused on users' concerns
The committee's report said the agreement should lead to the establishment of a "substantial" SRA office in Scotland as well as the outlining of spending levels for the network up to 2007-08.

That concordat, said MSPs, should also lead to a clear breakdown of the Scottish Executive and SRA projects, coupled with timeframes, for the next five years.

The committee set out seven key projects to be completed within the timeframe, which included:

  • increased capacity at Edinburgh Waverley and further growth in rail commuting in the east

  • longer platforms to allow bigger trains to the Ayrshire coast, East Kilbride, Bathgate and Fife

  • infrastructure improvements on Glasgow's south side to allow more freight, Ayrshire coast and potential Glasgow Airport services

  • reopening of the Stirling-Alloa-Longannet line

  • more frequent and reliable services between Barrhead and Kilmarnock and Aberdeen and Inverness

  • electrification of the Rutherglen-Whifflet line

The MSPs also advocated quarter-hourly services from Glasgow to Milngavie and Glasgow to Hamilton.

Convener Bristow Muldoon said: "During our inquiry, the committee found widespread concern about the state of Scotland's railway system and there was a general call for greater clarity regarding rail priorities and rail funding.

"Urgent action is required to address immediate problems affecting the rail industry.

"The day-to-day concerns of rail users such as reliability and overcrowding must be tackled if confidence is to be restored in the rail network."

'Fresh start'

Mr Muldoon added: "We are disappointed so far at the commitment shown by the SRA to its Scottish operations and expect significant improvements, both via improved SRA funding and via a better SRA presence on the ground in Scotland."

The establishment of Network Rail as a replacement for Railtrack and the imminent replacement of the Scottish rail passenger franchise offered the conditions for "a fresh start", said the MSP.

The committee called for a "transparent and accountable" Scottish division of Network Rail to be established.

Ministers should also consult and commission research on a Glasgow Crossrail project, public transport fares and north-south high-speed rail services.


We do have, we think, quite a significant presence in Scotland already

SRA spokeswoman
A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said ministers would take the recommendations "seriously" and report back at a later date.

A spokeswoman for the SRA said it would also be considering the report carefully.

However, she pointed out that the authority already had a memorandum of understanding with the executive.

And she said: "We have certainly taken quite a lot of steps to establish a presence in Scotland, such as having a team based in Edinburgh which liaises quite regularly with the Scottish Executive.

"We are working on the re-letting of the Scottish franchise at the moment and we also sponsor the Rail Users Committee for Scotland.

"We do have, we think, quite a significant presence in Scotland already."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kirsten Campbell
"The committee believes Waverley station should top the list of projects"
See also:

10 Jun 02 | Scotland
29 May 02 | Scotland
09 May 02 | Scotland
07 Mar 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes