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[ 04-07-2012 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce have welcomed progress towards the electrification of central Scotland’s rail network as a good start, but have warned that more needs to be done if the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Project (EGIP) is to live up to its ‘jewel in the crown’ potential.  Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: 

“The Scottish Government’s decision to implement only a part of its original plans for the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Project at this time is disappointing.  Whilst improvements in journey time, station facilities and the rapid acceleration of wi-fi capabilities in the ScotRail fleet are extremely welcome, EGIP was a project which had the potential to be transformational in terms of its impact on connectivity across central Scotland and, sadly, it looks as though this potential may fail to be realised. 
“The new plans that have been announced fail to achieve the improvements in journey times that have been promised, fail to guarantee the pledged electrification of the network to Stirling and Dunblane and fail to deliver the six trains per hour between Glasgow and Edinburgh that business travellers have been demanding.
“The investment that has been announced is also likely to result in significant disruption to services as infrastructure improvements are undertaken and more information is required on how this will be managed.
“Running a railway cannot be done on the cheap.  EGIP was an ambitious project that could have delivered much in terms of economic benefits by bringing two of Scotland’s great cities together.  The Scottish Government’s announcement is a start but we are looking for a cast iron guarantee that the rest of this project will be delivered to a defined timetable.”