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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Council welcomes assurance on future of Chieftain service

Council welcomes assurance on future of Chieftain service

Issued: 18 Nov 2010

The Highland Council Convener Sandy Park has been told by Secretary of State for Scotland the Rt Hon Michael Moore, MP, that the Government has no plans to withdraw through rail services between Inverness and London.

Councillor Park wrote to Mr Moore last month seeking his support for the retention of the direct rail link between Inverness and London as well as the Fort William to London sleeper service.

Mr Moore wrote: "Thank you for your letter seeking my support for the retention of the direct rail links between Inverness and London (the Highland Chieftain) and the Fort William - Inverness sleeper service. I have raised this already with the Secretary of State for Transport and can assure you that the Government has no plans to withdraw through services between London and Aberdeen and Inverness. We fully recognise that these links deliver significant economic and passenger benefits and they are included in the new East Coast Main Line timetable that has been developed for implementation in May 2011."

Mr Moore said the Fort William sleeper and the other Anglo-Scottish sleeper services were provided by First ScotRail and specified by Transport Scotland and were not a responsibility of the Department of Transport.

Councillor Park warmly welcomed the assurance that the Inverness - London service would continue.

He said: "This is great news and hopefully, for now, ends the concerns that exist for the future of this service. We will continue to seek assurances from First ScotRail over the future of the Fort William - London sleeper service that we fought so hard to protect in the not too distant past."

Council Leader Michael Foxley, who raised the matter at the Council's last meeting, said: "These are vital services for the Highlands and for our visitors. The next step is to campaign for an upgrade of the rolling stock so that these services continue permanently."

The matter was reported to today's meeting of the Council's Transport Environment and Community Services Committee.

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