NEW Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs is on track for early talks on bringing back passenger services to the Capital’s South Suburban rail line.
He has written to new Transport Minister Humza Yousaf asking for an early meeting to discuss the issue.
Mr Briggs, who has backed the campaign to reopen the South Sub to passenger trains, said he wanted to ensure the issue was clearly on the minister’s radar as he took command of the transport brief.
The line has been restricted to freight services since 1962, but there have been repeated calls for it to be reopened to help ease road congestion and cut pollution.
Mr Briggs said: “My immediate priority will be to push for a new feasibility study so we have an updated basis on which to take the campaign forward. Any new study should also consider the potential for the Edinburgh South Suburban railway to serve as a university line with a fast link between the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.
“I am also keen to discuss whether the Scottish Government would support funding from the eagerly anticipated Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Regional Deal being used for the purpose of a feasibility study.”
Former Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie won backing from across the political spectrum when he raised the South Sub question in the Scottish Parliament last session.
Mr Briggs said: “As was demonstrated in the members’ debate initiated by Jim Eadie there is genuine cross-party support for taking the concept forward and I am confident this will remain the case in this session of parliament.”
He said he had been pleased to work with Mr Eadie on the issue and was keen to cooperate with MSPs from other parties to make the case for the project.
“At a time when Edinburgh’s population, including its student numbers, is increasing and road traffic capacity issues within the city continue to be of concern to local residents, a passenger railway has the potential to be popular and well used and to be an important part of the city’s transport infrastructure, which must be as flexible and modern as possible to compete with other cities across Europe and beyond.”