Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce was represented by President Tim Allan and Chief Executive, Sandra Burke in the meeting with David Dickson, Managing Director of Network Rail Scotland and Nigel Wunsch, Network Rail Scotland’s principal route planner, which was organised by Jenny Marra, MSP for North East Scotland.
We highlighted how business critical it is for Dundee and Angus to be better connected by rail to the other major Scottish cities and wanted to hear what plans there are in place for improving connections. We also emphasized the need for faster and more direct routes to Aberdeen and Edinburgh at peak times. Jenny pointed out that these routes are slower than a car and some train travel times haven’t improved in over 100 years.
Of course we understand that local stopping services must be maintained to support economic activity within regions and emphasised our view that that the much needed direct peak time routes should be added to those existing services. Much will depend on which of the current bidders for the rail franchise is appointed in October and we look forward to hearing what innovative and improved services they can offer. Expectations in the local business community are high.
A direct outcome of the meeting was that the Network Rail team confirmed the new Edinburgh Gateway station at Gogarburn, connecting directly by tram to Edinburgh Airport, will open towards the end of 2016. This will offer a 10 minute transfer time from the train to the airport for rail passengers travelling from Dundee and Angus, which is excellent news for both tourism and businesses. It’s also just in time, as it turns out, for the opening of the new V&A!