MSPs welcome cross-border rail decision

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Angus North and Mearns MSP Nigel Don has welcomed the confirmation by Transport Minister Keith Brown that all trains under the control of the Scottish Government franchise agreement will continue to provide direct services from London to Aberdeen and Dundee.

The Transport Scotland Rail 2014 consultation had posed the question of whether a hub should be set up in Edinburgh where passengers from further south would change trains for onward travel, however, this has been dismissed by the Minister.

Mr Don said, “This announcement is seriously good news, and confirms that the Scottish Government is committed to providing a direct link to London from Angus and Aberdeenshire. The idea of a hub at Edinburgh would have been a major mistake, and a real inconvenience to everyone living north of the capital.

“There will be a large influx of tourists to London for the Olympics, and having a direct link to Montrose and Stonehaven is invaluable for local tourist attractions and accommodation.

“I am pleased that the Minister has listened to the concerns of the local community and ensured that this vital link will remain in place.”

Aberdeen South & North Kincardine MSP Maureen Watt also welcomed the confirmation by the Minister on cross-border rail services.

As part of her response to the Rail 2014 consultation, Ms Watt identified the problems that the loss of East Coast services would cause passengers travelling to and from Aberdeen and highlighted the fact that adding the delay of changing to a connecting train for such journeys would do nothing to encourage a modal shift from air to rail.

Ms Watt said: “The need to maintain East Coast services to and from Aberdeen is something that I have highlighted on several occasions.

“Running cross-border services all the way to Aberdeen is important to efforts to encourage a modal shift from air to rail, but also represents a significant amount of the rail capacity that runs between Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Take that away and there would have been a massive hole in services to Aberdeen.”