As the Milngavie line was once again confirmed to be the worst performing in Scotland, a major trade union for railway staff has written to the Scottish Government in support of the campaign to re-dual the Westerton to Milngavie line. The TSSA Union, whose members include workers involved in control of trains in the area, have backed the campaign to improve the service, currently the worst in Scotland, by re-introducing double tracks between Westerton and Milngavie.
A report commissioned by Ross Greer MSP showed that, with barely one in four trains currently arriving into Milngavie on time, re-dualling the line would not only improve the local service but prevent many other delays across West and Central Scotland and allow for more flexibility in timetabling across the network. The report also showed that re-dualling would allow a new Allander station to be built between Milngavie and Hillfoot, which local residents have been calling for, for many years. November’s statistics showed that the number of trains arriving on time in the last year has once again decreased to 26.9%, the worst in Scotland.
While a bid from East Dunbartonshire Council for some of the £2m Local Rail Development Fund, (secured by the Greens MSPs as part of this year’s budget negotiations with the Scottish Government), was unsuccessful, it has been confirmed by Network Rail that re-dualling is still very much on the table. Ross will be meeting the Scottish Government’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson in December to discuss this. East Dunbartonshire Council have also recently appointed consultants to strengthen the case further.
Following the successful meeting with the TSSA, Green MSP Ross Greer commented:
“The momentum behind our bid to re-dual the line continues to grow, with backing coming in from unions, other councils in the region, rail experts and of course the overwhelming support of local residents. TSSA members see the problems caused first hand so it’s fantastic to have their endorsement for the campaign. Passengers can add their voice by signing my petition at www.greens.scot/milngavieredual
“It is quite clear from the report I published in June that re-dualling is essential, not just to improve the poor local service for commuters in Bearsden and Milngavie, but for the sake of the wider network across central Scotland. When stations as far as Edinburgh Waverley are affected by our small stretch of the line, it’s clear that something needs to be done.”
TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said, “It's a tiny but mighty part of the network and it is vital to modernise this line to remove bottlenecking that ensures delays are kept in the Scottish rail system.
“A slow down on the Milngavie line doesn’t just inconvenience commuters on that line. A late-running train on the Milngavie line causes knock-on delays across whole of the rest of West and Central Scotland. Re-dualling the line should be a no-brainer.
“With ScotRail’s punctuality plummeting, despite the railway receiving the highest rail subsidy of any UK Railway, something must be done to start turning things around. That’s why TSSA believes the Scottish government should stop wasting taxpayers’ money on privateers like Abellio and run the railway in the public sector. That is why the TSSA supports the re-dualling of the Milngavie line.”
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