Weir seeks assurances on services for new East Coast franchise

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Angus MP Mike Weir is seeking assurances from the UK Transport Secretary that the proposed new franchise for the East Coast rail line will “at the very least” include guarantees for the continuation of services north of Edinburgh.

The minister has announced the UK government’s intention to put the service out to private franchise.

Commenting on the matter Mr Weir said: “The written statement today announces the proposal to franchise the East Coast line as part of a general review of franchises but gives no further detail. It is vital that the Transport department understand the importance of rail links to our local communities.

“The East Coast rail line gives Montrose, Arbroath and Aberdeenshire a direct rail link to major cities in Eastern England and to London. It is an important link for both business and tourism.

“There have been previous suggestions that the service terminate at Edinburgh which have been fought off. I have asked the Transport Secretary to give a guarantee that any new franchise will include an assurance that, at the very least, existing services north of Edinburgh will be maintained.

“The UK government’s proposals for High Speed rail is a massive investment of public money but only goes as far as Birmingham. We need to ensure that we retain services north of Edinburgh to take advantage of any improved times on the East Coast line and eventual connection to high speed services.”