First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reopened Glasgow Queen Street train station after a £120m refurbishment.
The station, one of the busiest in Scotland, has undergone improvements over the course of the past four years, with platform lengths increased and new frontage added to the station which first opened in 1842.
The First Minister said the changes to the station were a “shining example” of how Scotland’s older stations can be modernised and made greener.
Sturgeon said: “Visually, it’s stunning – some of the old features have been uncovered, it’s transforming the George Square, city centre view.
“But this is also about improving the services for the travelling public and it’s also part of that bigger, long-term journey towards a decarbonised railway system in Scotland.”
But outside, about two dozen trade unionists gathered to call on the First Minister to intervene in potential service cuts and “save” Scotrail, making so much noise during speeches to staff, including Sturgeon, that a piper was deployed to drown them out.
Following the release of an internal Scotrail report, by Professor Iain Docherty, which suggested a permanent 10% cut to services – which unions say could cost up to 1000 jobs – workers have threatened further industrial action, including ensuring no trains run during the watershed climate conference due to in Glasgow in a few weeks.
Speaking outside the station, Michael Hogg, the Scotland regional organiser for RMT, said: “We have an opportunity as a result of Cop26 – we’re taking lawful industrial action, we will make sure that no trains will run during Cop26.
“(What an) embarrassment that will be for the Scottish and UK Government, where the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow – this is a great opportunity for the Scottish Government to intervene and save Scotland’s railway and bring closure to the current dispute and give equality to the majority of workers within Scotland’s railway.”
Addressing the already running dispute between unions and Scotrail, the First Minister said: “I hope we can get that dispute resolved and I hope we can get that resolved ahead of Cop, not just for the reasons of Cop, but for the reason that we don’t want disruption on our railways on Sunday or any other day of the week.
“I know that parties are keen to continue talks, to get back round the table and I would strongly encourage both sides of this dispute to get back round the table and find a resolution that is in the interests of those who work in our railways – who work hard at all times but have worked particularly hard to keep the country moving during the pandemic – but, fundamentally, that is in the interests of the travelling public as well.”
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