ratpag Dissects The Most Important Issue Regarding Scottish Independence: Rail and Transit

Topographic map of Scotland.

Official topographic map by the British Geological Survey.

ratpag loves infighting.  We love “scaremongering” and fear.  Stories involving madmen and “painful” divorces make our little rat heart warm.  Given all that, we’ve been following Scotland’s vote for independence pretty closely.  But how to tie that into rail and transit?

First, a little backstory for our slower, uninformed readers.  Tomorrow, September 18, Scotland will vote on whether they should remain united with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom.  We’re surprised they can even do that.  According to the NPR article, “the latest polls show the race is extremely tight.”

So why does Scotland want to break apart their 307-year union?  From what ratpag can gather, it’s a combination of a few things.  There’s always been some minority calling for independence, including “Alex Salmond, head of the Scottish National Party and Scotland’s First Minister” – also the person running the yes-for-independence campaign – and the aforementioned “madman,” at least as classified by one voter.  That minority has grown to somewhere around 50% of the voting population in Scotland, thus making the vote quite interesting.

Those in favor of Scotland independence also feel that the yes vote will provide better opportunity for job creation in Scotland, this despite the various large companies vowing to relocate to London if Scotland separates.  There’s also a lot of issues dealing with different cultures, histories, and political beliefs that ratpag is undeniably qualified to discuss – but just doesn’t feel like doing.  Also, “‘Scots don’t like being told what they can’t do.’”  Could be as simple as that.


Scottish mountains.

So…rail and transit..let’s see…you’ve got Transport Scotland with a little bit about buses and the like.  That’s not very exciting.  How about ScotRail?  Ok, that’s better.  They’ve got regional and commuter rail on lockdown in Scotland.  They’ve got a lot of routes!  So what would independence mean for rail in Scotland?  Apparently nothing!  There are even claims that fares increases will stay lower than those in England.

ratpag’s happy to see that an independent Scotland would “press ahead with developing plans for high speed rail between Glasgow and Edinburgh” as well as “make the case to the UK Government for a high speed rail link between Scotland and London.”  We guess they don’t want to be too independent!

Otherwise there exists in Scotland the Edinburgh Trams, just opened this past May, and the Glasgow Subway, the “third-oldest underground metro system in the world.”  Um…we’re not finding much news on what would happen to these if Scotland goes independent, so we’re going to assume that they’ll be fine.

So there you have it – all you need to know about the Scottish vote for independence tomorrow!  For non-stop coverage of the vote and its aftermath, tune in to ratpag the BBC.



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