Using double decker trains to transport passengers between Edinburgh and Glasgow could help solve the country’s rail crisis, according to Scotland’s former transport minister.
Alex Neil says introducing double decker services on busy routes could help bring an end to overcrowding on trains and open up the possibility of cut price fares.
But Union leaders have branded the idea “pie in the sky”.
Speaking to the Sunday Herald, the ex-SNP cabinet minister claimed double decker trains would increase passenger numbers and lead to a growth in revenue.
“The idea that you can only get innovation with the private sector is rubbish,” he said.
“It’s about having a virtuous cycle rather than a vicious cycle.”
Double decker trains are popular in countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland.
Neil said adopting that system in Scotland, particularly along the main routes, would transform the way rail services are delivered.
Neil said: “Recently, I was in Warsaw going to Krakow and was on a double decker train. You could have Glasgow to Edinburgh double deckers. It means you can double the capacity on each train.
“If you invest the (network’s) profits in running a double decker service, it would end overcrowding, would be more convenient and would mean more money could be invested.”
But, Kevin Lindsay, Scottish secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “It’s a pie in the sky idea as the infrastructure can’t take it and you would need to lower the tracks.
“It’s a great idea in theory and I’m not against it in principle, but it’s virtually impossible.
Meanwhile, Neil also suggested the super fast Japanese magnetic levitation trains could be used in Scotland.