Nicola Sturgeon taken the train once among hundreds of journeys

The Scotsman can reveal Nicola Sturgeon has travelled by train on official business just once in the first half of this year while taking 15 flights and hundreds of trips by car. Picture: Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images
The Scotsman can reveal Nicola Sturgeon has travelled by train on official business just once in the first half of this year while taking 15 flights and hundreds of trips by car. Picture: Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images
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Nicola Sturgeon has travelled by train on official business just once in the first half of this year while taking 15 flights and hundreds of trips by car.

The analysis of official records by The Scotsman comes days after the First Minister stressed the importance of improving rail links.

Her sole rail journey between January and June - the latest figures available - was between London and Edinburgh, when she also travelled between the cities by air nine times.

Ms Sturgeon was driven by official car 213 times between January and April, since when her journeys have not been published on police advice.

Her sole rail trip compares to 33 single and return train journeys taken by transport minister Humza Yousaf, and 15 by Brexit minister Mike Russell.

The First Minister announced a feasibility study on Monday into cutting Anglo-Scottish rail journey times.

She told business leaders in Newcastle: “I am determined for us to take the necessary steps to secure Scotland’s future and improve our connectivity with England.”
Three years ago, Scotland on Sunday revealed Ms Sturgeon had made no official journeys by train in the first 15 months after taking charge of transport as infrastructure secretary in 2012.

Sustainable transport campaigners Transform Scotland said ministers should be setting a better example.

Director Colin Howden said: “ScotRail is committed to ‘building the best railway that Scotland has ever had’, so it’s disappointing Scottish ministers are not prepared to use rail services themselves.

“Perhaps if more ministers used public transport they would have first-hand experience of the need for investment in bus and rail services.”

Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Jamie Greene said: “Nicola Sturgeon seems averse to using the train.

“Given the state of the rush hour railways under her leadership, who could blame her?

“What she forgets is thousands of people depend on trains every day, in every part of Scotland.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby said:

“This goes to show just how out of touch Nicola Sturgeon is with Scotland’s commuters.

“Ordinary people are having to pay sky-high fares for their daily commute on trains run for private profit, not people.

“Yet the First Minister will have little experience of the poor and over-priced service Scots have to deal with.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We continually look for ways to increase rail travel and minimise air travel or cars for official journeys.

“However, the First Minister’s busy schedule frequently requires her to make longer journeys at relatively short notice, or to undertake engagements in different places within a short timescale.”