Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

Getting on Track


Reform Scotland calls for new Scottish Rail Infrastructure Commission

Reform Scotland today publishes a paper calling on the Scottish Government to set up a Scottish Rail Infrastructure Commission to assess the economic, environmental and social case for improving Scotland’s rail infrastructure.

Releasing detailed travel times for journeys in Scotland in its new paper Getting on Track, the think tank reveals a huge number of journeys which are significantly faster by car than they are by train, including:

  • Edinburgh to Inverness, which takes over 3hrs 30mins by train and only around 3hrs by car
  • Glasgow to Dunfermline, which takes over 1hr 30mins by train, with a change, but just under an hour by car
  • Aberdeen to Dumfries, which is over 4hrs 30mins by train, with two changes, and under 4hrs by car

The paper also shows that while travelling from London to Edinburgh can take as little as 4 hours by train, it can take almost as long to reach Inverness from the central belt.

Commenting, Reform Scotland’s Research Director Alison Payne said: 

“The Scottish Government deserves credit for having in place a rolling programme of investment in upgrading railway lines, which is expensive and takes a great deal of time and planning. However we have to ask whether these incremental changes are enough.

“We rarely think big enough, or long-term enough, yet on rail infrastructure we must.

“Scotland’s rail network has the potential to help address some of the medium- to long-term challenges facing the nation, such as achieving net zero, reducing depopulation and growing the economy. But that potential can only be realised through the sort of ambitious thinking of which we presently see far too little.”

Read the Report (PDF)

Getting on Track