Hopes raised for direct rail to London via Cumbernauld

Improvements previously shelved by Virgin still have a slight chance to be realised
Improvements previously shelved by Virgin still have a slight chance to be realised

PREVIOUSLY shelved plans which would allow rail passengers from Cumbernauld to travel direct to London could be realised after all.

Virgin Trains has said that it will work to extend rail services, and campaigners are hoping this will mean a direct Stirling-London service stopping at Cumbernauld.

Local campaigner, Andrew Stephen of Cumbernauld Commuters’ Association, said that the establishment of such a link would be “excellent news” for Cumbernauld.

He added: “Cumbernauld is on the list of intended stations, but not Larbert or Coatbridge Central, as intimated at a recent Virgin Trains talk to members of the Caledonian Railway Society.”

Rail upgrade plans for the Cumbernauld area were affected by Scottish Government’s announcement that the £1bn Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme would be downscaled, including the electrification of the line through Stirling which has been postponed.

These possibilities have recently been discussed in the Scottish Parliament. Constituency representative Jamie Hepburn of the SNP said: “The rail service currently provided in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth could be greatly improved and I think that this franchising gives us an opportunity to do so. An important part of this improvement should include more regular services and better train stations. I have argued for such improvements in the past and I’m happy to continue pressing for them.

“It is good to see the Scottish Government taking a sensible and considered approach in their handling of rail franchises.

“The Minister’s response was positive and the support of the Scottish Government in this issue is to be welcomed. I look forward to working alongside the Government as well as all the other relevant parties in the years to come, to help to bring about a better rail service for the people of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.”

Meanwhile Labour warn that the chances of the new service depend entirely on the timely completion of the Stirling-Alloa-Dunblane electrification. Mark Griffin MSP said: “Cumbernauld’s commuters could greatly benefit from having a daily service of this nature stopping in the town, but this opportunity could pass us by as the electrification of the Stirling line, a key component for the plans, has fallen victim to SNP cuts.”