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Electrification of the north Glasgow suburban railway line will be considered as part of the Scottish Government’s next high level output specification for control period 6, which is due in July 2017. The Scottish Government remains committed to a substantial rolling programme of electrification that will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits, providing Scotland with a sustainable world-class transport system.
The cabinet secretary will be aware that passengers who travel on that line have recently suffered severe disruption from a number of causes, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow improvement project and the problems with the Forth road bridge. All that disruption is, perhaps, understandable, but they also now face 20 weeks of considerable disruption and substantially increased journey times during the period of works to the tunnels and other parts of the railway outside Queen Street station. Will the cabinet secretary consider making an early announcement about the electrification of the line, so that we can bring it into the same situation as the other suburban lines in Glasgow? It would be extremely helpful if he could do that.
The Edinburgh to Glasgow improvement project, which is one of the causes of the disruption, is bringing substantial benefits to Glasgow. I think that I am right in saying that more electrification is happening in and around Glasgow than in any other part of the country. As for an early announcement, I think that the matter is best considered when all the different options are taken together. Other parts of Scotland are very interested in the roll-out of electrification to their areas, and we have to consider that against the resources that we expect to be available at the time. For that reason, I do not think that it would be right to bring the announcement forward. However, it is worth saying that there is a substantial amount of electrification in addition to EGIP, Airdrie to Bathgate and the Paisley corridor. As we said previously, there is a commitment to 100km a year of electrification beyond EGIP. It is in that context that we will consider an announcement about Maryhill.
Thank you. Before we move to the next item of business, members will want to join me in welcoming to the gallery His Excellency Mr Simon Smits, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. [Applause.]