The Chairman of NESTRANS, the transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Shire, has reacted with dismay to the contents of the revised Scotland Rail Utilisation Strategy (RUS), which was published today (Friday 15th).
Commenting on the updated strategy, Councillor Kevin Stewart said. “While the Strategic Transport Projects Review, which was published after the original RUS, talks about a 20 minute reduction time in rail journey times to the central belt, Network Rail conclude that, even allowing for the dualling of the track just south of Montrose at Usan at a cost of approximately £100m, the best they could achieve is a 7 minute reduction and that even electrification would not enable the desired time reduction to be achieved.
“The 20 minute reduction time to the central belt is a major consideration from an STPR perspective and it is hugely disappointing, at a time when we need to make every incentive possible available to reduce the number of car journeys, that Network Rail claim it is not possible. The timing is also particularly unhelpful at a time when there is a real threat to the current services to and from London and little or no possibility of HSR going beyond Glasgow and Edinburgh.”
While the apparent inability to achieve the required rail reduction times is a major disappointment to Nestrans, other conclusions of the revised RUS have also left its chairman underwhelmed.
“The view of the RUS is that there is not a significant overcrowding problem on Aberdeen suburban services, a conclusion most North east commuters would vehemently disagree with and appear unaware of the recent Dyce station study undertaken by First Scotrail.
“To be perfectly frank, other than some minor improvements to railway operation at Aberdeen, and what may come out of the Aberdeen to Inverness study, there really is not much for us in the North east to be positive about and we will be taking some time to take stock before deciding on our next course of action.”