South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has renewed his call for the Nith Valley and Stranraer to Glasgow lines to be electrified.
The MSP renewed his calls during Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament. Mr Smyth called for full electrification on the routes to contribute to the decarbonisation of Scotland’s passenger rail services, deliver faster and more sustainable services and to provide a better link to other infrastructure such as the ferry ports at Cairnryan.
Only 711km or 25.3% of rail track in Scotland is electrified. The Scottish Government announced in their Programme for Government that they intend to decarbonise Scotland’s passenger rail services by 2035.
Colin Smyth has campaigned for investment in rail services in Dumfries and Galloway since his election in 2016.
Colin Smyth said, “The electrification of rail railways from Stranraer and the Nith Valley Line from Dumfries would be a significant investment in infrastructure, services and rolling stock. With more people using the railways to commute and travel electrification would cut journey times and improve services.
The Scottish Government’s commitment to decarbonise our passenger rail services in Scotland means that the pace of investment must speed upas diesel trains will no longer be permitted from 2035. Previous examples prove that where there is investment in rail infrastructure and services, passenger numbers will increase. Our railways in Dumfries and Galloway are often left behind, and the subject of broken promises, but electrification would be a gamechanger for our region. If the tracks are not subject to electrification that puts the whole future of services on those tracks in doubt . Electrification would secure their future.
The Scottish Government have been quick to hop on future developments such as hydrogen and battery powered locomotives but these are inferior to the advantages of electrification. Electrification is the only proven way to significantly increase speed on those tracks Rail trade unions are clear that to make our railways cleaner, quicker and greener we must invest in electrification.”