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New franchise on West Coast Main Line offers opportunities for Anglo-Scottish rail

Published 13 November 2017 by Jamie Wylie

Transform Scotland has today issued a briefing on the new Partnership for the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and the subsequent introduction of HS2 services.

The West Coast franchise renewal offers an ideal opportunity to develop more and faster services, prepare the way for HS2 services, as well as increasing the modal shift from car and plane to the train.

The briefing makes a number of recommendations, including:

• A sub-four hour journey time from Glasgow to London with more frequent and faster trains to enable
rail to capture a much larger proportion of the rail/air market on this route

• A wider range of destinations both within Scotland and from Scotland to be served by direct trains and
through easy and convenient connections

• The current Voyager diesel trains to be replaced by new electric bi-mode trains capable of 140mph
speeds and with tilt

• On-train facilities to be overhauled to create more space for luggage, bikes and buggies and to better
segment diferent groups of passengers

• Stations to become hubs for the local community with high quality facilities and seamless onward travel
links

• Clear and simple fare and timetable information to help grow the overall market for rail

• Infrastructure improvements to improve line speeds and line capacity for freight and passenger trains,
and to prepare the route for HS2 classic compatible trains

• New HS2 trains offering accommodation that reflects best practice from around the world

Paul Tetlaw, Head of the Policy Forum at Transform Scotland, said:

Given the urgency to cut our carbon emissions the need to invest in rail has never been more apparent.

“Rail offers many advantages over other modes both directly and to society as a whole. For the business community, rail journeys provide productive travel time compared to flying. Compared to the car, rail offers passengers a more relaxed and substantially safer form of transport.

“For rail to fully compete with air significant journey time improvements are needed and the franchise operator will need to work with Network Rail to deliver appropriate infrastructure improvements to the classic route to Scotland. It is essential that this work is carried out before the start of HS2 services in 2026.

The full briefing can be found here.