Rail Infrastructure Investment (Perth to Edinburgh Route)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 19 June 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

1. To ask the Scottish Government what rail infrastructure investments it plans for the Perth to Edinburgh route. (S4O-02262)

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

There are no current specific investment plans for the Perth to Edinburgh route, but the £60 million Scottish network improvement fund is being made available over the period from 2014 to 2019. That fund will support the funding of infrastructure improvements across the network in line with the strategic priorities of the Scottish ministers, which include improved journey times, connectivity and resilience. Network Rail will be expected to use the fund to exploit opportunities that are available through current or planned works.

Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

The minister will be aware that, as a candidate in the Ochil constituency in 2007, he was a keen supporter of calls to reopen Kinross station. He will also know that Transform Scotland has spoken of the considerable benefits that a new line could bring to the local economies of Perthshire, Kinross-shire and Fife and by reducing journey times between the north and the central belt. What proposals, if any, can residents expect to see on improving the rail network between Perth and Edinburgh? Will they include a commitment from the Scottish Government to look again at a feasibility study into reopening a Kinross link?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

On the latter point, officials are in discussions with Transform Scotland, which made the suggestion.

I remember 2007 and a vote that committed the Parliament to £0.5 billion of investment in the trams network. One issue that relates to further train and rail works to improve the infrastructure is the availability of resources. I am sure that Liz Smith will know that there is a cut of over a quarter in our capital budget, which impacts on what we can do.

As I have said, there will be continuing improvements to the line. Transform Scotland and officials will consider the overarching project of a new line or reinstating the old line between Perth and Edinburgh. The matter was previously looked at in detail in the strategic transport projects review, but it was ruled out on the ground of cost.