A NEW cross-Forth rail tunnel is at the heart of a £22 billion rail revolution proposed by the Scottish Greens.

The Rail for All programme aims to build a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all. It is hoped the move would create thousands of jobs, while delivering infrastructure that is essential to both tackling the climate emergency and supporting long-term economic prosperity.

The proposed Firth of Forth tunnel would transform journeys between Edinburgh and Fife, up the east coast to Dundee and Aberdeen, and north to Perth and Inverness.

As part of the plans, the party also proposes a new underground station in Leith, the construction of a new overground terminal station near the former St Enoch railway station site on Argyle Street in Glasgow, and the full electrification of the inter-city network by 2030.

The programme would also seek to ensure that, where realistically possible, every town with a population of more than 5000 is connected to the rail network, in addition to the re-opening of the Dunfermline to Alloa route and upgrades to the Highland Main Line, Far North Line, West Highland Line and the Ayr to Stranraer Line.

The party is also calling on the formation of one publicly-owned rail operator by re-integrating ScotRail and Network Rail.

Scottish Greens transport spokesperson, John Finnie, says the programme should be a central part of Scotland’s green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

He added: “Scotland’s rail network has suffered from long-term systemic under-investment, with governments of all stripes favouring roads.

“While some improvements have been made in recent years, the network north of the central belt has been largely neglected.

“As someone who, prior to the pandemic restrictions, regularly travelled by rail between the north and the central belt I know all too well just how infuriating the current set-up can be. We can enjoy, and we must demand, the environmental, economic and quality of life benefits of a comprehensively modernised rail network.