Rail Electrification

General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 9th December 2004.

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Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party 2:00 pm, 9th December 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what recent discussions it has had with Network Rail regarding rail electrification. (S2O-4489)

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

Improvements in rail journey times can be delivered by a combination of infrastructure improvements and modern diesel trains with considerably less expense and disruption than electrification involves.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

The minister will be aware—as I told him just after 1 o'clock—that ScotRail intends to introduce diesel trains on the Edinburgh to North Berwick service. That means that no electric trains will run on the electrified North Berwick branch. Will he assure me that no subsequent moves will be made to de-electrify the branch? I am sure that the Executive does not want to preside over de-electrification as a way of progressing rail travel.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

I was aware of the question that the member would ask and I thank him for the heads-up before he asked it. The deployment of diesel trains on the line is an operational matter for ScotRail, but the operation of diesel trains on the route does not imply no future use of the electric overheads.