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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00039: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 12 May 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what direction ministers issued to the Office of Rail and Road regarding the open access application for Edinburgh to London King's Cross rail services.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 25 May 2016

The Scottish Government made representation to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to ensure that services to Scotland were protected and improved. It was however for the ORR, as the independent regulatory body, to come to a determination on open track access on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

In responding to the ORR’s consultation, the Scottish Government set out the following principles that any bid, and the ORR in assessing bids, for open access operation on the ECML should observe:

There must be no material abstraction of ScotRail revenue.

Fast journey times between Scotland and London are critical in facilitating the desired shift of cross border travel to rail as a more sustainable mode, but any open access operation has to a ensure that overall journey times on the route improve, and that there should be no worsenment.

That the open access operator pays their fair share for the impact on the infrastructure.

That there must be no diminution of frequencies of service and journey times to Scottish Stations as a consequence of any open access operation, and where possible there should be improvements.

That no service shall operate so as to unbalance the provision of internal Scottish services.

That new open access services should result in enhanced choice for passengers in terms of journey time, fare levels, passenger service and connectivity.

That there should be no significant disruption of efficient timetabling and connections on other services.