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Scottish way for Scotland railways

is best says former transport Sctoland CEO

Dr Malcolm Reed CBE, until recently the Chief Executive of Transport Scotland, has told delegates at the prestigious Annual CILT Rail Lecture that Scotland’s model for running its railways is working well and is here to stay.

Giving the prestigious Annual Lecture, in memory of Sir Robert Reid, hosted by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in London last night (22nd April), Malcolm Reed said that Scotland’s rail network had made great progress in recent years – with new and re-opened lines and stations such as the Edinburgh Waverley remodelling and the opening of the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine route in 2008 now enjoying patronage twice the level predicted; new Siemens rolling stock coming on stream; and, as in the rest of Britain, growing numbers of people taking the train across Scotland’s rail network.

He described Scotland’s railways as "an essential part of the transport mix in Scotland and their contribution is already substantial." He also claimed "broad political consensus within Scotland for the railway development programme and this is typified by the incoming administration’s ready adoption of the December 2006 document, ‘Scotland’s Railways’." This included a "partnership of equals" in running the railways – Transport Scotland, First ScotRail and Network Rail, the latter two being "co-terminous".

He also praised the Scotrail brand, now more than 25 years old, which continues to fit well with the natural propensity of Scottish people to take the train, especially on busy corridors likes Glasgow to Edinburgh. Looking ahead, he was dismissive of the idea of Maglev trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow but held out as a real prospect electrification of this key and busy rail corridor, leading to reduced journey times of just 37 minutes between the two cities.

Malcolm Reed said that there were marked differences with the management of the railways in England and Wales. For instance, Scottish rail passengers would not face the same financial burdens as those in England and Wales (where government policy is to shift the burden of rail funding from taxpayers to passengers). He said: "While Westminster government can reasonably confidently aspire to transferring much more of the cost of the railway to its users, that is unlikely to be the case in Scotland."

He also said that Scotland would look as much to other similar countries like Ireland, Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries as it would to England for ways of improving its railways.

However, he hinted at greater levels of political interventionism in Scotland as they are "likely to retain a strong social, public interest railways", adding that this would require "a more "hands-on" approach by Transport Scotland than the Department for Transport applies in England and Wales."

The Annual CILT Rail Lecture is hosted annually by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). It is a prestigious occasion held in honour of the highly respected chairman of Sir Robert Reid and attracts many senior managers from the rail and wider transport industry. Previous Annual Lecture speakers at the Lecture have included: John Armitt of Network Rail; Adrian Lyons of The Railway Forum; and Guillaume Pepy of SNCF;

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