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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Scotrail Should Take Over West Highland Line Services

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Highlands and Islands MSP for the Scottish Greens, Ariane Burgess, has called on the Scottish Government to have Scotrail take over running all services on the West Highland Line following the recent suspension of the Jacobite steam train service.

The Jacobite service was suspended last week by operator West Coast Railways who said they could not comply with safety regulations.

This leaves the West Highland Line, running from Glasgow to Mallaig via Fort William, with gaps in its scheduled service for tourists and residents alike.

Ms Burgess, the Scottish Green Party MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, said it is vital that reliable rail services continue to be provided on the scenic West Highland route for local residents as well as visitors.

“Residents along the West Highland Line depend on this route for getting to work, visiting family, and going about their daily lives and while the Jacobite suspension is extremely disappointing news for tourists, it’s also an opportunity to improve the service so that it works better for residents as well as visitors.” Ms Burgess stated.

“Green pressure has already succeeded in bringing Scotrail and the Caledonian Sleeper under public ownership and control.

“Scotrail running more services on the West Highland Line is the obvious solution to ensure consistent, affordable, low-emission transport.”

Ms Burgess added that resuming a full timetable under Scotrail would provide certainty for local communities while still allowing tourism opportunities with a more reliable, safer and cleaner service than the coal-fired Jacobite trains.

“This is a chance to show how the Scottish Government’s public ownership of rail can deliver for the Highlands and Islands in a sustainable, modern way,” she said.

“I urge ministers to work with Scotrail to operate a full service on the West Highland Line at the earliest possibility.”

The famous West Highland Line runs for 164 miles from Glasgow and travels through areas of incredible natural beauty including lochs, mountains and the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

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