Question S6W-14798: Monica Lennon, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, answered on 6 March 2023
To ask the Scottish Government whether it can commit to setting a (a) start date and (b) timetable for its national conversation on rail services, as announced by the Minister for Transport in the Scottish Parliament on 9 February 2022.
Jenny Gilruth: The National Rail Conversation will be formally launched in April to mark the one year anniversary of ScotRail coming in to public ownership. Through the National Rail Conversation, we will listen to feedback from passengers, staff and stakeholders to shape a vision for ScotRail which best meets the needs of the people of Scotland. I will announce the timetable for the conversation at the launch.
Question S6W-15855: Graham Simpson, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 28 March 2023
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to increase the amount of freight delivered by (a) water and (b) rail.
Jenny Gilruth: Scottish Ministers and officials have been working with industry stakeholders to explore the data on routes key Scottish exports take to market. Officials plan to annually update and publish this data on the modes and routes through which exports leave Scotland, including the commodity gaps in relation to the rest of the UK, to better inform exporters on the flows of Scottish goods to the EU and the rest of the world, as we continue to explore opportunities to increase exports from Scotland.
The Scottish Ministers have set a further rail freight growth target* for rail control period seven (2024-2029) through their recent High Level Output Specification.
*"net growth in CP7 of 8.7% net tonne kilometres in rail freight on the Scottish network"
[There is a link to the HLOS on this issue's companion web page]
Question S6W-15856: Graham Simpson, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 22 March 2023
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with Network Rail regarding the use of any spare capacity on passenger trains to freight goods into Scotland's cities.
Jenny Gilruth: There have been no recent discussions with Network Rail on this specific point. Rather discussions have focussed on futureproofing stations for potential dedicated express logistics services.
Question S6W-14784: Rhoda Grant, MSP for Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, answered on 16 March 2023
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-13023 by Jenny Gilruth on 9 January 2023, when it will fulfil its commitment to reduce train journey times between Inverness and Edinburgh to 2 hours 45 minutes, as referred to in the original question.
Jenny Gilruth: Transport Scotland, alongside industry partners, is exploring options for lengthening passing loops on the line to enable longer and more frequent freight and passenger services.
Enabling the transfer of freight traffic, particularly from the adjacent A9 to the Highland Main Line, will produce significant carbon savings and improve safety and traffic flow on the A9.
We will fund the infrastructure enhancements necessary to produce further journey time savings on the Highland Main Line once a robust business case has been established for this expenditure.