Scotrail and history

Thursday September 28th 2017

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament Main

Christine Graham MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Scotrail meeting

I have had a long and thorough meeting with Alex Hines the Chief Executive of Scotrail and raised all the issues you had sent to me; cancellations, ticketing, disabled provision, stop-skipping, cleanliness on the trains and so on. I am writing to all who got in touch, individually.

In the meantime, it is the case that in the near future, and dependent on the electrification of the Glasgow-Edinburgh line ,a better class of train will be on the line together with more carriages.

Those signalling problems which also led to cancellations apparently were due to axle counters on the line not functioning always as they should. These literally count the axles on the carriages and so identify where the train and carriages are and when. Alex Hines told me this is much improved.

Incidentally he also told me he is a “Secret Shopper” and pops onto trains here and there to see for himself. I have encouraged him to do a bit of that on our line. I’m sure he will. A full report of that meeting will be put up on my Facebook shortly.

Ah history

When you have been in Parliament as long as I have, some 18 years, you have unfortunately for the other political parties, a memory.

So when the Tories take on the mantel of the homeless and those struggling to rent that takes the biscuit. Was it not the Tories who introduced Right to Buy council houses? These were sold at a discount leaving councils no money to build replacements.

I started married life in a council house which gave my husband and me time to save a modest deposit for our cottage. As there was not so much pressure to buy, house prices did not sky rocket. Changed days but hey the Tories are rewriting history.

Labour is not much better. Do I hear cries of PPP/PFI bad? This was a means for the private sector to build schools and hospitals while we the public will be paying a heavy price for them for years. It’s a sort of HP. Who introduced PPP/PFI in Scotland? Why the Labour/Liberal administration.

It was the SNP who refused to use this method when they took over as Government. One of the biggest bills is for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh . It will cost under PFI £ 1.4 billion over a thirty year contract. It’s also why the Scottish Government while abolishing parking charges at hospitals couldn’t do it at the REI because parking charging was part of that contract and too expensive to cancel.

It will be interesting therefore as Corbyn’s promises to cancel these contracts in England, what the cost will be and where he would get the money. Compensation to these companies will not come cheap.

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