A “unified Scottish rail network” will be delivered by Labour if it wins the Holyrood elections next year, party leader Jim Murphy has pledged.
He wants to use the Scottish Parliament’s new borrowing powers to build the Glasgow Crossrail scheme, enabling services from the north and east of Scotland to continue through Glasgow to the west and south.
Mr Murphy told delegates at the Core Cities Devolution Summit in the city yesterday that “long-delayed” infrastructure projects have been a subject of frustration in Scotland.
“Crossrail would bring Scotland together, linking north, south, east and west,” he said. “It would see Scotland finally have a unified rail network service. It would offer better transport for Glaswegians, more capacity on a rail network creaking at the seams and more jobs.
“For too long our cities have been held back by a lack of ambition, a lack of funding and a lack of freedom.”
He said he has asked the Labour leaders of Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils, Gordon Matheson and Andrew Burns, to work on the project with Andrew Adonis, a former UK transport secretary, and bring out a report later in the year.
But Mr Murphy’s plans were branded “half-baked” by Scottish Government infrastructure secretary Keith Brown.
He said: “Crossrail was previously rejected because of its limited benefits and massive costs.
“The Strategic Transport Projects Review found that the Crossrail proposal would disadvantage many passengers by diverting existing commuters from the city centre stations, and would substantially increase subsidy requirements through additional services for limited passenger numbers.
“People don’t want to see a repeat of the Edinburgh trams fiasco which Labour voted for in 2007.”