The campaign to save the northern Anniesland to Queen Street rail line and stations at Kelvindale, Maryhill and Gilshochill seems to have drawn the ire of my former boss and Glasgow Region MSP, Bob Doris. In replies to constituents, Bob says;
“Can I take this opportunity to reassure you over the future of our local railway stations. I appreciate that fears have been raised by some politicians in other parties. However let me be clear. The stations on the Maryhill line are NOT under threat.”
Now I’m not looking to fall out with my friend Bob but let’s look at the two consultations currently under way.
Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme
If you look in this document you will see not a word about any impact upon Glasgow local services. So hats off to our Constituency MSP, Patricia Ferguson, who discovered via questions at an EGIP briefing that officials are looking at the upper level platform currently used by the Maryhill line. Let’s be clear there is now a real threat that the Maryhill service will not go direct to Queen Street via Ashfield in order to free up space on the upper platform for the additional Edinburgh Service to be delivered via the £1 Billion EGIP scheme.
And indeed Bob seems to know all about this threat because in a letter on 16th January 2012 to Transport Minister Keith Brown, he says:
“I also appreciated your time in relation to discussing the possibility of an enhanced north Glasgow rail service that would connect the Maryhill and Springburn lines. I note that this may also have the benefit of reducing rail congestion on the tracks at the high level of Queen Street Station where trains enter and exit. I further note that this could be helpful to assist in the desired aims of EGIP, whilst at the same time enhancing north Glasgow rail services.”
Now I don’t know how making passengers from Gilshochill, Maryhill and Kelvindale travel to Springburn, change and then wait for another connecting train is an “enhanced service”. I’m not even sure it could be delivered which is why Transport Officials are looking at diverting the service back through Partick. But what I do know is that any Glasgow MSP worth their salt should be honest enough to advise residents in Maryhill and Kelvindale that they are going to lose the service to the upper platform in Queen Street.
The SNP Government, like Bob, is hiding behind its statement that it has no proposals to close Glasgow Stations. They say that the consultation” does not offer a position on stations, nor set out any plans or proposals. We are consulting on the principles, rather than the specifics..”
Problem number one for the SNP Government is that their consultation is consulting on closures.
7.11 “We would welcome views on what locations may be more appropriate for stations and which current stations are no longer required.”
Problem number two is the hit list (sorry Factsheet) which contains the names of fourteen stations.
STVlocal quotes the Transport Minister Keith Brown as saying:
The fourteen stations don’t actually appear in the Transport Scotland consultation. There is a factsheet and that is where people have got this information from.” He added: “People have asked us can we list these stations. Somebody has responded to the consultation and has asked for the stations within an area and that’s why these stations have appeared on this sheet.
But here’s why I’m confused. Transport Scotland and the Minister say that the 14 named stations are provided because someone asked for a list of stations in Scotland that are in an area one mile from another. So in the Factsheet accompanying the consultation they say:
“There are some areas where there are rail stations that are located in close proximity. In the Glasgow commuter area there are 11 stations located less than one mile from another rail station offering similar services and there are three other stations in other parts of Scotland.”
But there aren’t just 14 stations within a mile of another in Scotland. In fact there are 60 and the Transport Minister should know this as he provided that detail in a written response to Labour MSP John Pentland.
Save Our Stations – Save Our Line.