Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, has asked the Scottish Government to ensure that increased freight traffic on the Cumbernauld/Falkirk Grahamston to Glasgow railway line takes into account popular demand for a new railway station at Grangemouth .
His call came during Question Time in the Scottish Parliament, when he asked Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson about the impact of electrification and proposed changes to rail freight usage on the line.
Speaking during Question Time, Jamie Hepburn MSP said:
“The minister will be aware of the existing heavy freight traffic on the Cumbernauld to Falkirk Grahamston line. Given the plans to electrify that line, the long-standing hopes of local people to see an increased and improved passenger service, and the campaigns to create Abronhill and Grangemouth railway stations, will the minister guarantee that increasing freight traffic on the line will not impinge on any possibility of future improvements to passenger services?”
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson replied:
“We will be electrifying 350km of track in Scotland’s rail network as we take forward our plans. That is an ambition for railway infrastructure development that has not been seen in my lifetime.
“As we increase freight traffic on the Cumbernauld line, there will be issues about timetabling, but there is capacity on the line to allow us to continue to develop passenger services as well as freight. The slots are provided through the usual mechanisms involving Network Rail and all the rail companies in semi-annual discussions.”
Speaking later outside the Scottish Parliament Chamber, Jamie Hepburn MSP added:
“This was another opportunity to raise awareness of the widespread support for new railway stations at Grangemouth.
“Electrification of the line will help to speed up passenger services and make the idea of a new station at Grangemouth even more viable. Any changes to the freight use of the line have to take this into account.
“Raising the issue in Parliament keeps the issue on the Scottish Government’s agenda and I’m confident this is another small step on the road towards the goal of a station at Grangemouth.”
SNP Councillor for Grangemouth Angus MacDonald added:
“People across Grangemouth support the idea of a new railway station for the area, and it’s important that upgrades to the line and any changes to freight traffic leave the door open for such a development.
“It’s important campaigners take every opportunity to keep up the momentum, so I was glad to see Jamie using this chance in Parliament to flag up the issue once again.”