A call to link sleeper trains to the troubled Eurostar service has been welcomed in Dundee and Fife.
Councillor John Alexander, the SNP leader of Dundee City Council and chair of Dundee Partnership, said linking the Caledonian Sleeper route with Europe could “only be a good thing”.
Scotland’s transport minister Michael Matheson said making train travel easier between Paris or Brussels and Scotland was “precisely the kind of innovative thinking Scotland needs.”
Passenger numbers plummet
The SNP says Network Rail should look at future connections for the Scotland-London sleeper service.
Eurostar is facing a financial crisis having seen passenger numbers plummet during the pandemic and Mr Matheson said the move could help save it from bankruptcy.
Mr Alexander said: “The announcement that the sleeper could connect to the Eurostar is a very positive one from both a connectivity and environmental perspective.
“Reducing our reliance on air travel will be key in tackling the climate emergency. It will also offer the public an easier way to travel to Europe via train and something which I’m certain travellers will be keen to explore.
“It offers Dundee another opportunity to connect to Europe and that can only be a good thing.
“Having used the sleeper for travel to London previously, it’s always been a really enjoyable, easy and more environmental way to travel.”
Currently operating on a reduced timetable, the Caledonian Sleeper links Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Fort William, Glasgow and Edinburgh with Euston station in London.
The Eurostar links London’s St Pancras International with Paris and Brussels.
There are currently no plans to provide a link between the two London stations, which are about half a mile apart.
Linking stations ‘too expensive’
A report in 2014 said linking the lines would be too expensive.
Fife Chamber of Commerce chief executive Alan Mitchell said new transport connections were always worth exploring.
And he said a link from Europe to Edinburgh could potentially lead to more visitors crossing the Forth to Fife.
Anything that attracts more visitors from Europe and brings them to Fife would be welcome,”
Alan Mitchell, Fife Chamber of Commerce
“Anything that attracts more visitors from Europe and brings them to Fife would be welcome,” said Mr Mitchell.
“If that provided another convenient and cost effective way for visitors from the continent to come to Scotland then that’s great.
“Clearly coming to Scotland doesn’t always translate as coming into Fife but Fife has lots of fabulous tourism attractions, being the home of golf and all of that. So if there are more visitors to Scotland, Fife would benefit from that.
“Connectivity is key to business development. If you’re better connected then you’ve more more opportunities to create business.”