£300m rail link 'would benefit the Central Belt'
A PLANNED £300 million rail link between North Lanarkshire and West Lothian could attract businesses to the Central Belt, creating more than 1,500 jobs, MSPs heard yesterday.
Four passenger services an hour would operate at speeds of up to 80mph between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In a committee debate at Holyrood, Tory MSP Phil Gallie said reopening the 15-mile stretch between Airdrie and Bathgate would create access to 60 miles of the rail network.
The South of Scotland list MSP described the project as a "very sound idea" that would persuade companies to open in the area. He said it would allow people in West Lothian and North Lanarkshire to commute, go shopping or attend college or school without using cars.
The estimate of 1,500 new jobs the committee had received was "not optimistic enough" and Edinburgh and Glasgow would also receive an economic boost from the plans, Mr Gallie claimed.
He said reopening the line after more than 50 years and providing a direct rail link would offer an alternative to the M8 and ease traffic congestion in both cities.
"Physically this is a railway for the communities of the Airdrie-Bathgate railway corridor but its benefits go far beyond those areas," he said.
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