Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP has welcomed confirmation today, in a parliamentary answer from the Scottish Government, that refurbished High Speed Trains due in Scotland next year will have twice as many cycle spaces for intermediate stations as previously planned.
Mr Rumbles said that the improvement was due to a dogged campaign to persuade rail bosses that locking all but two cycle spaces out of use for intermediate stations was a mistake.
Mr Rumbles has tabled a series of parliamentary questions to pressurise ministers to revise their plans in the face of criticism from cycle campaigners.
A total of 10 spaces will be available for cyclists, including four for cyclists using intermediate stations on the Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness/Aberdeen routes.
In 2015, the Scottish Government backed down in response to calls from cycling organisations and the Scottish Liberal Democrats to provide more racks for cyclists travelling to and from the Highlands by rail.
At the time the Abellio promised that 20 spaces would be made available on the new High Speed Trains, due to be introduced by next year. Even with today’s announcement, only half that amount has now been confirmed.
Mr Rumbles said:
“While this is not quite as many extra spaces as the Scottish Government promised, any increase is greatly welcome.
“Cycling tourism has grown hugely in recent decades and our public transport network has not kept up with demand. Many cyclists, who join the route after Glasgow or Edinburgh, felt discriminated against and severely limited by having just two spaces available.
“This will benefit people who want to visit Perth, Stonehaven or Aviemore.
“I would like to thank all the cyclists and campaign organisations who have helped keep the pressure on the Scottish Government to deliver on this pledge. I very much hope that the refurbished high speed trains meet the high expectations set for them.”