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More rail freight needed for sustainable connectivity in Scotland

More rail freight is vital for allowing the Scottish government to promote long-term sustainable connectivity, the government’s transport minister has said.

Speaking at the Rail Freight Group (RFG) conference in Stirling, Derek Mackay MSP said that rail freight is consistently more reliable than roads, especially in adverse weather conditions.

He said the Scottish government had a strategy of innovation, facilitation, promotion and investment to help the freight sector develop, and had established a £30m Scottish Strategic Rail Investment Fund to look at capacity, journey times and electrification.

Mackay said: “The Scottish government has set some of the world’s most challenging climate change targets, and rail is a good contributor to that.

“My role is to support sustainable economic growth and rail freight is important in that – we want to make it easier, not more difficult to use rail freight. But it does have to be an attractive business proposition.”

He added that it would be more efficient if management decisions about Scottish railways could all be made in Scotland, not in England.

Other speakers at the RFG conference discussed the increasing use of rail for the Scottish timber market, as well as the need for more detailed and long-term strategies for establishing diversionary routes after incidents such as the recent closure of the Lamington Viaduct following storms.

Last year Mackay called on businesses across the UK to support Scotland's plans to expand its freight sector.


Nonsuchmike   05/03/2016 at 16:31

Scotland has shown that it has the impetus as well as the desire to improve their rail system and not leave it to the cunctatorial english government. Alternative routes across southern Scotland are imperative to open up job opportunities & markets as well as re- enfranchise those arbitrarily cut off by Beeching's axe et seq. In addition, the electrification and realignments to the Paisley Canal Street route as well as to other growing centres of population and industry must mean that older, more traditional, routes to the north and west of the country should also be improved by line dualling, increased frequency and longer trains. Where Scotland leads surely Wales will follow in their planning, but England appears to think and cater no further north than Birmingham at best and Watford at worst.

Roy   25/04/2016 at 13:24

hi its greet,to see the,locomotive racing doun line with a tromendos engine....

#Levenrailnow   04/07/2017 at 17:08

I'm not sure this positive image of Scottish rail is justified. No new rail reinstatement projects have been approved for 11 years now. The focus seems to be primarily on Edinburgh-Glasgow and other intercity routes and of course on mega-roads projects (despite Scottish Govt claims to be greener). The obstructionism of successive Transport Minister including the aforementioned D Mackay is becoming laughable

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