A FORTH rail tunnel is at the heart of a £22bn transport “revolution” proposed by the Scottish Green Party.
The Greens claim the project will help build “a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all”.
The party’s Rail for All programme should be a central part of Scotland’s green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, they say.
Transport spokesman John Finnie said thousands of jobs would be created along with infrastructure that is essential to tackling the climate emergency and supporting long-term economic prosperity.
The proposed tunnel would, the Greens claim, transform journeys between Edinburgh and towns and cities north of the capital.
They are also proposing a new underground station in Leith connecting the 50,000 population to the wider Scottish economy as part of the under-Forth scheme.
They would construct a new overground terminal station at St Enoch’s (Argyle Street) in Glasgow.
There would be full electrification of the inter-city network by 2030 to allow the current rolling-stock to be replaced with modern high-performance electric trains.
And, where realistically possible, every town with a population of over 5,000 would be connected to the rail network.
Finnie said: “The Scottish Greens are proposing the biggest rail investment programme Scotland has ever seen. Our fully-costed £22bn plan would transform Scotland’s railway, building a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all.”
He added: “Rail for All is about making rail the natural choice for every journey. Whether you’re commuting, travelling for business or leisure.
“The investment would also be a central component of Scotland’s green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, creating thousands of quality, unionised jobs whilst delivering the infrastructure so necessary to tackle the climate emergency.”
Finnie claimed Scotland’s rail network has suffered from long term systemic under investment, with “governments of all stripes favouring roads”.
He said: “The fact that many journeys take longer in 2021 than they did in Victorian times shows just how constrained Scotland’s railway has become.
“But we must not accept this decline. We can enjoy, and we must demand, the environmental, economic and quality of life benefits of a comprehensively modernised rail network.”