§ 9. Mr. James Davidson
asked the Minister of Transport if she will give an assurance that she will refuse her consent to proposals to withdraw any further rail services north of Aberdeen within the next three years.
§ Mr. John Morris
There are no proposals for the withdrawal of passenger services from the lines to Wick and Thurso nor from the main lines to Inverness from Aberdeen and Perth. All these lines are part of the network for development to be retained for the foreseeable future. The Kyle line is not part of the network but in considering any future closure proposals for it my right hon. Friend should have particular regard to the adequacy of road alternatives.
§ Mr. Davidson
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that extremely full reply. His assurance will be welcome in the 1256 North of Scotland. Nevertheless, is he aware that the direct passenger service from Aberdeen to Inverness has an extraordinarily bad record for punctuality, and that this is interpreted by some users as a means to discourage passenger traffic, as a prelude to withdrawing the service?
§ Mr. Morris
On the matter of punctuality, as I am sure the hon. Member is aware, this is a question for the management side of the railway industry. As for the service to which he has referred, I have given him the assurance that he wants, that this is one of the lines in black in the development map which my right hon. Friend published earlier this year.