Vast majority of Scots want inter-city rail services at least as fast as roads

Transform Scotland

NEWS RELEASE

Embargoed until 00:01 on Tuesday 24 February 2015

OPINION POLL RESULT: VAST MAJORITY OF SCOTS WANT INTER-CITY RAIL SERVICES AT LEAST AS FAST AS ROADS
Transform Scotland also launches ‘Inter-City Express’ campaign brochure

Transform Scotland [1] has today (Tuesday 24 February) released the result of an opinion poll which shows that the vast majority of Scots, from all backgrounds, of all ages, and across the whole of the country, want rail services between the Scottish cities to be at least as fast as roads.

When asked the question “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “Journeys by rail between Scotland’s cities should be at least as fast as those made by road”?”, 91% of respondents agreed, with only 3% disagreeing. [2]

Transform Scotland has launched the opinion poll finding ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s parliamentary debate on Scotland’s infrastructure being led by the Scottish Ministers. [3] The opinion poll finding is included in a new campaign brochure launched by Transform Scotland as part of its ‘Inter-City Express’ campaign. [4]

Paul Tetlaw, Transform Scotland rail campaigner, said:

“This opinion poll result clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of the Scottish public wants faster trains between our cities. It is about time that the Scottish Government matched its policy commitments to Scotland’s inter-city rail network with some actual investment in the infrastructure.

“It is frankly embarrassing that some of our inter-city rail routes are slower than they were over a century ago. In 1895, it was possible to travel by steam train from Perth to Edinburgh in 65 minutes, but today the fastest journey takes 71 minutes. In 1895, you could get from Dundee to Edinburgh in 57 minutes but nowadays the fastest rail trip is 64 minutes.”

Last year, the current transport minister, Derek Mackay, while he was planning minister, made a clear commitment for improving the speed of Scottish inter-city rail travel. The third National Planning Framework (NPF3), published in June 2014, clearly states: “We want to make rail travel between cities quicker than by car, and to complete the electrification of the railway lines between the cities.” [5]

Paul Tetlaw concluded:

“Due to a lack of infrastructure investment by successive administrations, we have been left with rail journey times between most of our cities which are uncompetitive with the equivalent road routes. The current Scottish Government has made vast spending commitments towards further speeding up road journey times between Scotland’s cities. So we now need to see an equivalent commitment to improving the speed of rail journeys north of the Central Belt.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland is the national sustainable transport alliance, bringing together rail, bus and ferry operators, local authorities, national environment and conservation groups, businesses and local transport groups – see <http://transformscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/our-members/> for details.

[2] Survey

The survey was undertaken by ScotPulse. It was undertaken online with a representative sample across Scotland. There were 1086 respondents and the results were weighted to Scottish population 16+ by age and gender. Fieldwork was carried out 9-11 May 2014. The question asked was “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “Journeys by rail between Scotland’s cities should be at least as fast as those made by road”?”

[3] Scottish Parliament infrastructure debate

At 2pm on Tuesday, the Scottish Government is leading a parliamentary debate: ‘Scottish Government Debate: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future’: see <http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/BusinessBulletin/86922.aspx>.

[4] ‘Inter-City Express’ campaign brochure & website

The new ‘Inter-City Express’ brochure is available at <http://transformscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Inter-City-Express-brochure.pdf>.

Further information on the ‘Inter-City Express’ campaign is available on its website at <http://www.transformscotland.org.uk/intercityexpress>.

[5] NPF3

See section 5.17 of <http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0045/00453683.pdf>.

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