Inverness Airport (Rail Services)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 5 September 2019.

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Photo of Edward Mountain Edward Mountain Conservative

6. To ask the Scottish Government when Inverness airport will have a railway station. (S5O-03486)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

The Aberdeen to Inverness rail improvement project is delivering the infrastructure to facilitate a new station at Dalcross, which is being progressed as planned by Network Rail and on behalf of Scottish ministers. We expect the project to be completed on schedule in the first half of rail control period 6, which runs from this year to 2024. Transport Scotland will be in a position to confirm the starting and opening dates once Network Rail has completed its feasibility work, and once third-party funding has been secured.

Photo of Edward Mountain Edward Mountain Conservative

I remind the cabinet secretary that the planning permission is about to lapse, because the station should have been built already. Given that the proposed station will be more than a mile away from the airport, will the price of a train ticket to Dalcross include free travel on to the airport on a shuttle bus?

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

That matter will have to be considered as part of any proposal that is brought forward by HITRANS—the Highlands and Islands transport partnership—which is the promoter of the project.

The new planning application has been made not because of the application lapsing but because the railway station will have two platforms and a turning loop. That will mean that the station will be double the size that was originally intended, which I am sure Edward Mountain will welcome.

The work is part of the £330 million that we are investing in rail infrastructure in the north-east of Scotland. The new train station at Forres has already been provided. I was able to visit to see the good progress that is being made through the investment in rail infrastructure at Kintore: the new station is at an advanced stage and should be open this year.

I am sure that the member will welcome the fact that we are putting significant investment into rail infrastructure in the north-east of Scotland, including the train station to which he referred, which I am sure the people of the north-east will very much welcome.