Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Liz Smith, has backed a call from sustainable transport campaign group, Transform Scotland, for greater investment in railways north of the central belt.
Transform Scotland have produced a graphic showing that it is faster to travel between Edinburgh and Carlisle than it is between the capital and Perth, despite the cross-border route being double the distance.
It is also faster travelling to the West Midlands from Edinburgh than it is to Inverness, a journey that is over 125 miles longer. The SNP have repeatedly failed to meet journey time and service improvements on the Highland Mainline.
The Scottish Government has stated their ambition to help rail compete with road but until there is substantial investment north of the central belt this will not happen.
Liz believes that only a direct rail link between Perth and Edinburgh will bridge the current journey time divide.
Commenting, Liz Smith MSP said:
“This evidence from Transform Scotland adds further weight to the argument that we need a direct rail link between Perth and Edinburgh in order for rail to compete with road.
“The fact that it is faster to get to Carlisle from Edinburgh than the Fair City is scandalous and not conducive to productive economic growth north of the central belt.
“At the very least the Scottish Government must rubber stamp a feasibility study into a direct link. We need hard stats to guide this project as it already has considerable support from residents in and around Perth.
“In the 21st century, rail travel to Perth and Dundee from Edinburgh should not be slower than it was in the Victorian age. It is high time that the infrastructure pot was shared out evenly and that means an end to central belt bias when it comes to rail improvements.”