12 Dec 2010

The opening of the new rail link from the east end of Glasgow directly to Edinburgh is a huge boost for the area. The first trains with passengers started running today, Sunday 12th December, stopping at six stations in the east end of Glasgow: High Street, Bellgrove, Carntyne, Shettleston, Garrowhill, and Easterhouse.

Along with the investment of £445 million in the M74 completion, the investment of £250 million in this rail link underlines the SNP’s commitment to Glasgow in general and the East End in particular. Both road and public transport need investment and these two projects together show that the SNP is committed to driving Scotland’s economy forward.

John Mason travelled on the first train from Shettleston station at 8.15am this morning. The service left and arrived on time taking about an hour. He returned soon afterwards and again the journey went perfectly. Congratulations are certainly due to ScotRail and Network Rail as well as former Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson. Trains originating in Helensburgh and west of Glasgow used to terminate at Airdrie while those from Edinburgh and the east stopped at Bathgate. But with the Airdrie-Bathgate link opened, direct journeys from Helensburgh to Edinburgh become the norm. The 24 km (15 miles) of new line are the longest domestic rail line with stations to be built in Britain for 100 years.

John Mason said, “There has been a big emphasis on this project benefitting communities in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian as they are getting train services for the first time. And that is great. However, I reckon the east end of Glasgow is a major beneficiary of this new line. Because of the good motorway links, our part of Glasgow has become an increasingly attractive area for people to live and work. But now we also have this excellent rail connection which allows us to travel east without going to Glasgow city centre. We are now much better connected than the likes of Bearsden and Milngavie… I don’t know why people want to live there!

“With the SNP investing so heavily in road and rail to benefit our area, this has to give a real boost to long term jobs. Anyone setting up a new business or factory will find the east end one of the best areas to come to. Rich business commuters may have lost out on their airport rail link, but ordinary people in Glasgow are winning with this great new rail line.”